The Lucifer Effect: The Stanford Prison Experiment By Philip Zimbardo

1254 Words6 Pages
Situational effects and personality come into conflict when discussing behavior. Personality is someone’s “usual pattern of behavior, feelings, and thoughts” (Twenge, 2017, p.20). It remains constant throughout different situations, but some situations can be stressful enough to make a person act out of character. The transition between a person’s normal personality and behavior to a more evil, sinister behavior fascinates a man named Philip Zimbardo, who conducted the infamous Zimbardo Prison Experiment, or Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE). Zimbardo is an American psychologist at Stanford University and the mastermind behind the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment (The Story). From the results of his study, Zimbardo explains the Lucifer Effect and how morally righteous people can do malicious things. The effect of both the one’s current situation and one’s personality contribute to one’s expression of behavior. Therefore, by changing the situation, personalities can emerge that were once suppressed and scarce. Three prominent examples of the Lucifer Effect are the Holocaust, Milgram’s Obedience Study, and at the Abu Ghraib prison. Philip Zimbardo grew up in the South Bronx ghetto and was one of the first in his family to attend college. In an interview he says, “prejudice and discrimination have always been a big part of [his] life” (Maslach, 2000). When he was young, Zimbardo faced discrimination in major ways. Due to his racial and ethnic ambiguity, he was mistaken for
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