posted on Dec, 26 2008 @ 01:57 AM
I think this will change your mind?
1st Case Study
In the 1970's, a group of social scientists at Stanford University, decided to create a mock prison in the basement of the psychology building. They
took a 35 foot section of corridor and created a cell block with a prefabricated
wall. Three small, six by nine cells were created and given steel-barred, black painted doors. A closet was turned into a solitary confinement cell.
The group then advertised in the local papers for volunteers, men who
would agree to participate in the experiment. 75 people applied, and from those 21 were picked, who appeared the most normal. Half of the group was
chosen at random, to be guards, and were given uniforms and dark glasses and told that their responsibility was to keep order in the prison. The
other half were told that they would be prisoners.
They got the Palo Alto Police Dept. to "arrest" the prisoners in their homes, cuff them, and bring them to the station house, charge them with a
crime, fingerprint them, then blindfold them and bring them to the prison in the
basement. They were stripped and then given a prison uniform to wear, and a number that was to serve as their only means of identification. The
biggest question was, how much influence does immediate environment have on the way people behave.
The guards, some of which whom had previously identified themselves as pacifists, fell quickly into the role of hard-bitten disciplinarians. The
first night they woke up the prisoners at two in the morning and made them do
push ups, line up against the wall, and perform other arbitrary tasks. On the morning of the second day, the prisoners rebelled. They ripped of
their numbers and barricaded themselves in their cells. The guards responded
by stripping them, spraying them with fire extinguishers, and throwing the leader of the rebellion into solitary confinement. "There were times when
we were pretty abusive, getting right in their faces and yelling at them," one
guard remembers. "It was part of the whole atmosphere of terror." As the experiment progressed, the guards got systematically crueler and more
sadistic. Numerous other atrocities happened and the study was immediately ended.
2nd Case Study
A few years ago, two Princeton University psychologists, decided to conduct a study inspired by the biblical story of the Good Samaritan. As you may
recall, the story, from the New Testament Gospel of Luke, tells of a traveler
who has been beaten and robbed and left for dead. Both a priest and a Levite came by the man and did not stop but rather went to the other side of
the road. The only man to help him was a Samaritan.
The researchers met with a group of seminarians, individually, and asked to prepare a short, extemporaneous talk on a given biblical theme, then walk
over to a nearby building to present it. Along the way to the presentation,
each student ran into a man slumped in an alley, head down, eyes closed, coughing and groaning. The question was, who would stop and help them?
The instructions given by the experimenters to each student varied. In some cases, as he sent the students on their way, the experimenter would look
at his watch and say, "Oh, you're late. They were expecting you a few minutes ago. We'd better get moving." In other cases he would say, "It
will be a few minutes before they're ready for you, but you might as well head over now."
The group that was rushed only 10 percent stopped. The other group 63 percent stopped.
In the first case study, we see that normal people, can turn violent because there are specific situations so powerful that they can overwhelm our
inherent predispositions. The key word here is situation. Not about
environment, but the major external influences on our lives. There are certain times and places and conditions when much of our normal being can
be swept away, there are instances where you can take normal people from good schools and happy families and powerfully affect their behavior by
changing the immediate details of their situation.
I just don't like the argument, in which people will say, these are their neighbors or friends. These two study's alone, even hundreds more will
suggest that people will turn on their own just by changing a situation.
"Interpersonal Dynamics in a Simulated Prison," International Journal of Criminology and Penology (1973), no. I, p. 73.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (1973), vol. 27, pp. 100-119.
[edit on 26-12-2008 by jhill76]