Essay The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

1788 Words Oct 23rd, 2012 8 Pages
he Lucifer Effect raises a fundamental question about the nature of human nature: How is it possible for ordinary, average, even good people to become perpetrators of evil? In trying to understand unusual, or aberrant behavior, we often err in focusing exclusively on the inner determinants of genes, personality, and character, as we also tend to ignore what may be the critical catalyst for behavior change in the external Situation or in the System that creates and maintains such situations. I challenge readers to reflect on how well they really know themselves, and how much confidence they have in what they would or would not ever do when put into new behavioral settings.

This book is unique in many ways. It provides for the first time
…show more content…
Federal Bureau of Prisons. That notoriety of this study is traced to examine extensions and replications of the SPE in research, the media, and recently as an art form, with critical analyses of the good and the bad directions that have been taken.

A major contribution of this book resides in its systematic application of the lessons learned from the SPE and social science research to a new understanding of the abuses at Abu Ghraib (chapter 14). I do this by integrating my psychological expertise with the special expertise I gained by being an expert witness for one of the accused Military Policemen involved in the abuses, Sgt Ivan "Chip" Frederick. I have gotten to know him well and, therefore I switched my role into that of investigative reporter as I tracked down his performance evaluations as prison guard in the States, the basis of his 9 medals and awards, corresponding with his family members and engaging psychologists to provide personality and pathology assessments of him. I have also been able to get special insight into the nature of that horrid prison from several personal contacts with military officers who have worked there. As an expert witness, I also had access to many of the independent investigations into these abuses and all of the digitally documented images of depravity that took…