Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde?

in Arts + Media
October 21st, 2011

Baghdad Central Prison, formerly known as Abu Ghraib prison

Have you ever wondered what pushes normal people to become hellacious monsters? Have you ever considered that the same person that turns evil has an equal chance of becoming a hero? If any of these questions have ever crossed your mind, Dr. Philip Zimbardo may have answers for you.

Not sure you want to commit twenty-three minutes of your time to this video? Let me give you a quick rundown. Zimbardo created the famous Stanford Prison Experiment in 1971. In this study, he recruited college students to act as security guards and detainees in a simulated prison. Zimbardo’s main question was: “What happens when you put good people in an evil place? Does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph?” Zimbardo had originally planned to have the experiment run for two weeks, but he had to end it after only six days since ‘[the] guards became sadistic and [the] prisoners became depressed and showed signs of extreme stress” within just a few days.

In his TED talk, Zimbardo talks about the experiment and the parallels that have been drawn between his experiment and the abuse that was inflicted upon prisoners at Abu Ghraib in 2004. In addition, Zimbardo also explains how he thinks good people can be turned into monsters or heroes.

The Stanford Prison Experiment – prisonexp.org

Philip Zimbardo shows how people can become monsters… or heroes – TED

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