Revisiting Milgram and Zimbardo’s Studies
Posted by Adam Benforado on November 23, 2012
A new essay in PLOS Biology returns to the path-breaking research of Stanley Milgram and Situationist Contributor Phil Zimbardo and asks whether the studies demonstrate the power of blind conformity or something else. In particular, the authors, Alex Haslam and Stephen Reicher, are interested in the possibility that social identification might be driving the dynamic. As Haslam explains, “Decent people participate in horrific acts not because they become passive, mindless functionaries who do not know what they are doing, but rather because they come to believe — typically under the influence of those in authority — that what they are doing is right.”
Here is the abstract of the paper:
Understanding of the psychology of tyranny is dominated by classic studies from the 1960s and 1970s: Milgram’s research on obedience to authority and Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment. Supporting popular notions of the banality of evil, this research has been taken to show that people conform passively and unthinkingly to both the instructions and the roles that authorities provide, however malevolent these may be. Recently, though, this consensus has been challenged by empirical work informed by social identity theorizing. This suggests that individuals’ willingness to follow authorities is conditional on identification with the authority in question and an associated belief that the authority is right.
Related Situationist posts:
- The Milgram Experiment Yet Again (Again!)
- Milgram Experiment at 50 Years
- Shocking for Money
- The Power of the Situation
- Video on the Original Milgram Experiment
- Milgram-Inspired Movie
- The Situation of Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Experiments
- Milgram Replicated on French TV – ‘The Game of Death’
- A Shocking Situation
- Zimbardo on Milgram and Obedience – Part I
- The Case for Obedience
- Replicating Milgram’s Obedience Experiment – Yet Again
- Jonestown (The Situation of Evil) Revisited
- Milgram Remake
- The Milgram Experiment Today?
- Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison and Kingsfield’s Harvard Law
- Zimbardo Interview at The Believer
- Speaking Truth to the Situation
- The Situation of Hazing, Torture, Gender, and Tears
- Gross & Evil
- The Lucifer Effect Lecture at Harvard Law School
- The Devil You Know . . .
- From Heavens to Hells to Heroes – Part II
This entry was posted on November 23, 2012 at 12:01 am and is filed under Abstracts, Ideology, Morality, Situationist Contributors, Social Psychology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.