The Milgram Experiment Today?
"Students commonly assume that, even if Milgram’s famous experiment
sheds important light on the power of situation today, were his experiment precisely reproduced today, it would not generate comparable results. To oversimplify the argument behind that claim: The power of white lab coats just ain’t what it used to be. Of course, that assertion has been difficult to challenge given that the option of replicating the Milgram experiment has been presumptively unavailable — indeed, it has been the paradigmatic example of why psychology experiments must be reviewed by institutional review boards ('IRBs'). Who would even attempt to challenge that presumption? The answer: Jerry Burger
, a psychology professor at Santa Clara University. With some slight modifications, Burger manage to obtain permission to replicate Milgram’s experiment — and the results may surprise you." [Via MindHacks]
posted by homunculus
on Jun 19, 2008 -
Questioning the banality of evil.
"There is a widespread consensus amongst psychologists that tyranny triumphs either because ordinary people blindly follow orders or else because they mindlessly conform to powerful roles. However, recent evidence concerning historical events challenges these views. In particular, studies of the Nazi regime reveal that its functionaries engaged actively and creatively with their tasks. Re-examination of classic social psychological studies points to the same dynamics at work. This article summarises these developments and lays out the case for an updated social psychology of tyranny that explains both the influence of tyrannical leaders and the active contributions of their followers." [Via Mind Hacks.]
posted by homunculus
on Jan 2, 2008 -
Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing
: "To offer a psychological explanation for the atrocities committed by perpetrators is not to forgive, justify or condone their behavior. Instead, the explanation simply allows us to understand the conditions under which many of us could be transformed into killing machines." (James Waller) In a Salon interview
about his widely acclaimed, pathbreaking book Waller states, "Most people don't understand how easy it is to develop us-them [mindsets]......In our climate of fear in response to terrorism, I think we could pretty easily turn on people who have been our neighbors."
posted by troutfishing
on Mar 17, 2003 -