Friday, June 13, 2008
What makes ordinary people become abusive? Power.
Stanford Professor Philip Zimbardo Found Out What Power Does to Many Ordinary People
August 22, 2001
BY MEREDITH ALEXANDER
"Thirty years ago, a group of young men were rounded up by Palo Alto police and dropped off at a new jail -- in the Stanford Psychology Department. Strip searched, sprayed for lice and locked up with chains around their ankles, the "prisoners" were part of an experiment to test people's reactions to power dynamics in social situations.
" Other college student volunteers -- the "guards" -- were given authority to dictate 24-hour-a-day rules. They were soon humiliating the "prisoners" in an effort to break their will.
"Psychology Professor Philip Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment of August 1971quickly became a classic. Using realistic methods, Zimbardo and others were able to create a prison atmosphere that transformed its participants. The young men who played prisoners and guards revealed how much circumstances can distort individual personalities -- and how anyone, when given complete control over others, can act like a monster.
"In a few days, the role dominated the person," Zimbardo -- now president-elect of the American Psychological Association -- recalled. "They became guards and prisoners." So disturbing was the transformation that Zimbardo ordered the experiment abruptly ended..."
Karen Horwitz, author of White Chalk Crime, notes Zimbardo's understanding that "passivity is the natural state for most people, which is why dissent rarely takes place."
This explains why the CVESD board and the CVE board helped cover up crimes against Maura Larkins, instead of demanding Richard Werlin's and Gina Boyd's
It was easier to go along to get along, especially since CTA Executive Director Carolyn Doggett and CTA Head Counsel Beverly Tucker sent a lawyer down to Chula Vista to keep the board in line.
At the same time, CVESD sent Daniel Shinoff, Jeffery Morris, and Kelly Angell aka Minnehan to keep teachers in line.