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The Situation of Genocide

Posted on December 5, 2008

Courtney Yager of CNN has an interesting piece on the work of Harvard University psychiatrist Robert Lifton, who has studied the psychology of genocides and found that situational factors can lead any human to partake in genocides.  Yager discusses the work of other social scientists who have come to similar conclusions.  We excerpt the story […]

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Posted in History, Life, Public Policy | Leave a Comment »

Another Century of Genocide?

Posted on October 9, 2007

Earlier this year I posted an overview of my recent research demonstrating psychological mechanisms that can lead good, compassionate people, and their governments, to become numbly indifferent when the number of innocent victims becomes large, as in genocide. Failure to intervene to prevent or stop genocide has occurred repeatedly during the past century, as documented […]

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Posted in Conflict, Emotions, Politics, Public Policy | 2 Comments »

“Ordinary Men” in Evil Situations

Posted on October 3, 2013

A few excerpts from an outstanding 1992 New York Times book review by Walter Reich of Christopher Browning’s remarkable book, “Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland“: We know a lot about how the Germans carried out the Holocaust. We know much less about how they felt and what they […]

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Posted in Conflict, History, Ideology, Morality, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Seeing Violence; Doing Violence

Posted on June 26, 2013

From Case Western Reserve University on Newswise: Aggression in school-age children may have its origins in children 3 years old and younger who witnessed violence between their mothers and partners, according to a new Case Western Reserve University study. “People may think children that young are passive and unaware, but they pay attention to what’s […]

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Posted in Life | Leave a Comment »

Posts on the Situation of Evil

Posted on April 19, 2013

For readers interested in previous posts about the situation of evil behavior, here are links to a sample: The Science of Evil Zimbardo Lecture on How Good People Turn Evil The Devil You Know . . . The Situation of Evil Situational Sources of Evil – Part III See also Part I and Part II of this Series. Deindividuation and […]

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Posted in Social Psychology | Leave a Comment »

Looking for the Evil Actor – Reposted

Posted on March 10, 2012

Five years ago Jon Hanson and Michael McCann wrote and published the following post about Joseph Kony as part of a series on the the situational source of evil.  In light of the attention Kony is now getting (see Youtube video, “Kony 2012,” here or at bottom of this post), we thought it might be […]

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Posted in Conflict, History, Ideology, Morality, Politics, Social Psychology, System Legitimacy, Video | Leave a Comment »

Marines Defiling Dead Taliban – Might Recent Neuroscience Shed Light?

Posted on January 11, 2012

From The Daily Princetonian: Failure in the part of the brain that controls social functions could explain why regular people might commit acts of ruthless violence, according to new study by a University research team. A particular network in the brain is normally activated when we meet someone, empathize with him and think about his […]

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Posted in Conflict, Neuroeconomics, Situationist Contributors | Leave a Comment »

The Interior Situation of Atrocities

Posted on January 10, 2012

From People’s World (an article summarizing recent research by Situationist Contributor Susan Fiske): Why do people commit atrocities? What is responsible for brutality and the cold blooded murder of innocents carried out by Nazis, the Hutu in Rwanda, or the United States against the Vietnamese people and more recently much of the civilian population of […]

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Posted in Altruism, Conflict, Ideology, Implicit Associations, Neuroscience, Social Psychology | Leave a Comment »

The Dehumanized Situation of Atrocities

Posted on December 17, 2011

From Duke Today, a story about recent research by Situationist Contributor Susan Fiske: A father in Louisiana bludgeoned and beheaded his disabled 7-year-old son last August because he no longer wanted to care for the boy. For most people, such a heinous act is unconscionable. But it may be that a person can become callous […]

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Posted in Abstracts, Conflict, Evolutionary Psychology, Morality, Neuroeconomics, Situationist Contributors, Social Psychology | 3 Comments »

Pinker on the Changing Situation of Violence

Posted on November 21, 2011

From the Harvard Gazette: Steven Pinker wants you to know that violence has declined. Despite civil wars in Africa and the Mideast, ongoing strife in Afghanistan, and the barrage of local and national crimes reported on the nightly news, people are living in a much more peaceful era than they might think. “During the thousands […]

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Posted in Altruism, Conflict, Education | Leave a Comment »

Psychic Numbing

Posted on October 8, 2011

Situationist Contributor, Paul Slovic and his co-authors (including Situationist friend, Andrew Woods) just posted their superb chapter, titled “Psychic Numbing and Mass Atrocity” (in  The Behavioral Foundations of Policy, E. Shafir, ed., Russell Sage Foundation and Princeton University Press, 2011) on SSRN.  Here’s the abstract. * * * The 20th Century is often said to […]

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Posted in Abstracts, Altruism, Book, Distribution, Morality, Situationist Contributors | Leave a Comment »

The Neuro-Situation of Violence and Empathy

Posted on April 11, 2010

From EurekaAlert: “Just as our species could be considered the most violent, since we are capable of serial killings, genocide and other atrocities, we are also the most empathetic species, which would seem to be the other side of the coin”, Luis Moya Albiol, lead author of the study and a researcher at the UV, […]

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Posted in Abstracts, Conflict, Emotions | 2 Comments »

Steven Pinker Speaks at Harvard Law School

Posted on December 17, 2009

From HLS in Focus (describing the new student group working with the Project on Law and Mind Sciences (PLMS) at Harvard Law School and the fascinating talk that Stephen Pinker recently gave there). * * * “SALMS” is a recently formed group whose acronym stands for: Student Association for Law and Mind Sciences. They are […]

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Posted in Choice Myth, Conflict, Events, History, Life | 1 Comment »

Steven Pinker at Harvard Law School

Posted on November 16, 2009

On Tuesday, November 17, The HLS Student Association for Law and Mind Sciences (SALMS) and the HLS Harvard Graduate Mind, Brain, and Behavior (MBB) Steering Committee are hosting a talk by Steven Pinker entitled “A History of Violence: How We Became Less Violent.” Steven Pinker is Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor in the […]

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Posted in Events, History | 2 Comments »

Jim Sidanius, “Under Color of Authority: Terror, Intergroup Violence and ‘The Law’”

Posted on November 3, 2009

Jim Sidanius is a Professor in the departments of Psychology and African and African American Studies at Harvard University.  His primary research interests include the political psychology of gender, group conflict, institutional discrimination and the evolutionary psychology of intergroup prejudice. At the second annual conference on Law and Mind Sciences, which took place im March […]

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Posted in Abstracts, Education, Ideology, Life, Social Psychology, System Legitimacy, Video | Leave a Comment »

Martha Minow Named Dean of Harvard Law School

Posted on June 11, 2009

Marth Minow has been a leading legal scholar and teacher for the last several decades and has been on the cutting edge of applying insights from social psychology and social cognition to her important research over the last several years.  Today, she was named Dean of Harvard Law School.  This is wonderful news for Harvard […]

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Posted in Education, Law | Leave a Comment »

Sad News

Posted on December 11, 2008

From Stanford Report, by Adam Gorlick (December 11, 2009): * * * Robert Zajonc, pioneer of social psychology, dies at 85 He witnessed and survived some of the worst of human behavior to become one of the world’s leading experts on how people behave. And during the 85 years between his birth in Poland and […]

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Posted in Classic Experiments, Education, Emotions, Life | 2 Comments »

Situationism in the Blogosphere – October, Part III

Posted on December 1, 2008

Below, we’ve posted titles and a brief quotation from some of our favorite non-Situationist situationist blogging during October 2008. (They are listed in alphabetical order by source.) * * * From Nueronarrative: “Certainty Takes the Stand: A Discussion with Robert Burton” “In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges his readers to ask one of […]

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Posted in Abstracts, Blogroll, Book, Classic Experiments, Life, Naive Cynicism, Neuroscience, Social Psychology | Leave a Comment »

Jonestown (The Situation of Evil) Revisited

Posted on November 17, 2008

With the 30th Anniversary of the Jonestown Mass Suicide upon us, now is a good time to republish the three-part Situationist series from 2007 on the “Situational Sources of Evil” — published also in the January/February 2007 edition of the Yale Alumni Magazine and based my  book, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn […]

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Posted in Book, Classic Experiments, History, Morality, Social Psychology, Video | Leave a Comment »

Harvard Conference: “Ideology, Psychology & Law”

Posted on February 26, 2008

The Project on Law and Mind Sciences at Harvard Law School is hosting its second conference on March 8, 2008. To learn more about the conference or to register, go to the conference webpage. We’ve posted a tentative agenda, including abstracts of the presentations, below. Second Conference on Law and Mind Sciences “Ideology, Psychology & […]

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Posted in Cultural Cognition, Events, Ideology, Implicit Associations, Legal Theory, Politics, Social Psychology, System Legitimacy | Leave a Comment »

 
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