Monday, March 3, 2008

How Good People Turn Evil, From Stanford to Abu Ghraib

Psychologist Philip Zimbardo has seen good people turn evil, and he thinks he knows why.
Zimbardo will speak Thursday afternoon at the TED conference, where he plans to illustrate his points by showing a three-minute video, obtained by, that features many previously unseen photographs from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. (don't recommend watching it)

Here's an excerpt from the article:
Wired: Your work suggests that we all have the capacity for evil, and that it's simply environmental influences that tip the balance from good to bad. Doesn't that absolve people from taking responsibility for their choices?

Philip Zimbardo: No. People are always personally accountable for their behavior. If they kill, they are accountable. However, what I'm saying is that if the killing can be shown to be a product of the influence of a powerful situation within a powerful system, then it's as if they are experiencing diminished capacity and have lost their free will or their full reasoning capacity.

Thanks to

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