Psychology: Stanford Prison Experiment

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TED talks summary: After watching a TED talk, summarize it using the form below. Author: Philip Zimbardo Title: The Psychology of Evil 1. Give a brief summary of the talk with some examples and/or main points. Philip Zimbardo introduces the “Lucifer Effect”, which relates to the notion that if people are good, then what possess them to do bad things? In reference to this topic, Zimbardo discusses the Stanford Prison Experiment as well as the violent Abu Ghraib prison incident. Zimbardo discusses how rather than looking at the individual as an evil person, evil acts should also be looked at in relation to the situation the person is in. Zimbardo refers to power being in the “system”, the system refers to political, economic, or legal power. The system itself can corrupt an individual, different situations can affect the behavior of an individual. 2. What are your thoughts or what is your reaction to this talk? I find this topic interesting, because I do believe that situations can cause different behavior in people. One of the key things to reference for me was the idea that in both situations of the Abu Ghraib, and Stanford prison Experiment, there was no order, no oversight. So my thought is why is it that if there is no oversight/order then why do individuals lose sight of what is right and wrong. 3. What questions do you have about this research that are still unanswered? It’s clear that without order there will be chaos, but at some point there was once order. My question would then be why would a person or persons in charge decide not to continue to enforce order and let individuals be free to produce such violent acts. So my next question would be to study the “system” and why they decided to withdraw their presence, what were they expecting from these situations? 4. In what way could this topic/research be continued or studied
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