Talk about Tyranny

The addition of the new Reicher & Haslam study to the course has introduced to many a long-argued debate surrounding Zimbardo’s original Stanford Prison Experiment; calling into question his conclusions and situational explanation for the behaviour that was seen.  

Reicher & Haslam argue against this in their 2006 research from the BBC’s The Experiment (and they have a great new website to support the study now).  The feel that the SPE was massively flawed in it’s implimentation and, basically, Zimbardo told the guards how to act and it wasn’t a result of the situation that they were all subject to.

Following on from this you can see Zimbardo answer some uncomfortable questions put to him by Stephen Sackur as he attempts to justify his SPE on the BBC’s Hard Talk programme. Well worth a watch as it brings in Richer & Haslam’s replication too.

To hear more about the original Stanford Prison Experiment and more of Zimbardo’s thesis on tytanny – if you’re in the North – Cara Flanagan is organising another Zimbardo Conference in Edinburgh

Dr. Zimbardo will share his views on the nature of evil, revisit the Milgram Obedience studies, his Stanford Prison Experiment, take us to the torture dungeon at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib, and describe why it is essential to understand not only individual temperament, but also situational forces, and powerful system influences that create, justify and maintain, evil-generating situations. Finally, we go from examining how ordinary people do very bad things to how other ordinary people do very good things that qualify as Heroic. We uncover a new perspective on Ordinary Heroes, and why we need to encourage everyone to become Heroes-In-Waiting ready to act on behalf of others or a moral cause when the situation arises. 

Also speaking at the conference is Christina Maslach (Zimbardo’s wife who was the Post Grad student that called a halt to the SPE), Phil Banyard and Mike Cardwell.  Well worth the trip and good to see some conferences up North!

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