Psychological Analysis On Obedience And The Stanford Prison Experiment

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Psychological Analysis on Obedience What forms a person’s predisposition to act in a certain way in any given situation? Is our personality something that we are born with or does it develop over time, and furthermore once it is ‘developed’ can it be significantly influenced by our surroundings? It is something that each of us wonders as we go about our daily lives. We wish that our circumstances were different so that we could be different people. Most of the time this type of thinking, if verbalized, receives responses along the lines of ‘life is what you make it’ putting pressure back on our actions to change who we are. We are raised to believe that our circumstances are a result of our actions and not the other way around. The Stanford prison experiment results are in opposition to this mentality that life is what you make it. Perhaps our circumstances can change our behavior and personality completely, and if so this may mean that disobedience should appear as a virtue instead of a harmful habit of the arrogant. Erich Fromm was a distinguished psychologist and philosopher who wrote an essay entitled Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem ten years before Zimbardo’s experiment in 1973. Fromm writes that disobedience is an integral part of human nature that allows us to progress as a species and as individuals. The authoritarian and humanitarian principle also defines the different personalities that human beings have as depicted Zimbardo’s experiments.
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