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“The Lucifer Effect” (Phillip Zimbardo)

Came as another national surprise. Updated 09 Sept 2013

  • North American college students in a prison experiment:
    • Were corrupted in 24 hours, feeling and playing the roles of abusive tyrant or crushed prisoner
    • The first “prisoner” broke in 36 hours.
  • This is the Lucifer Effect.
    • A product of the SYSTEM--and predictor of Abu Ghraib!

For the patriotic, this one is tough. Many of us in fact immediately go into denial: "No, this can't happen here," or more simply, "No, I can't stand to think about it." But the hard fact is most of us, in spite of our individual consciences, will not only abuse others, but permit others to abuse us. This is built into the Authoritarian Personality whether or not it is sociopathic. Only an egg-shell-thin emotional barrier separates one mode from the other.

Links to: Sociopathology & Authoritarianism

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