Social Psychologist Philip Zimbardo 's Prison Experiment And Stanley Milgram 's Obedience

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When we see people doing bad things we assume it is because they are bad people. Social Psychologist Philip Zimbardo would argue that this isn’t true. In April 2004 disturbing and graphic pictures surfaced, showing American soldiers mentally and physically abusing Iraqi prisoners held at the Abu Ghraib prison located in Bagdad. Looking at the photos that was surfaced, it looks strikingly familiar to those in the Stanford prison experiment that was done many years ago. The prisoners had bags over their heads and were subjected to all kinds of sexual and inhumane humiliation. The military went on the defence saying “those officers were a few bad apples.” To understand why the military soldiers at the Abu Grahib prison abused the Iraqi prisoners, we need to look back at the lessons of Philip Zimbardo’s prison experiment and Stanley Milgram’s Obedience to Authority experiment. The results of these experiments showed that there are a set of social psychological factors that can make ordinary people do things they could have never imagined doing. It shows how people respond when placed in cruel environments without clear rules, do bad things. I will look at Zimbardo’s case of ‘Good apples in bad barrels.’ And I will try to understand what lead to the abuses that occurred within the walls of Abu Ghraib. “Philip Zimbardo made it evident that in his analysis it was the military command and the Bush Administration that created the evil system that created the bad barrel that
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