The Psychology of Evil
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(This same video link is also listed under the current module for a different route to the same video)
Watch the Ted Talk video “The Psychology of Evil” with Phillip Zimbardo. Then answer the following questions:
- What, according to Zimbardo, is the “Lucifer Effect”? How does it influence your understanding of evil?
- How does Zimbardo’s experimental Prison Study relate to the real life events at Abu Ghraib?
- What connections do you see between Zimbardo’s research and Milgram’s? How does Zimbardo go beyond Milgram’s findings?
- What was the setup of the Prison Study? How would you have reacted that morning of the first day had you been assigned the role of prisoner? How would you have reacted over time?
- Which of the social processes that Zimbardo identifies as key to greasing the slippery slope to “evil” do you think would most powerfully impact you (and perhaps prompt you into committing unconscionable acts)?
- Which systemic aspects of major institutions concern you most? Feel free to consider prisons, mental institutions, military agencies, schools and universities, government bodies, etc.