Last months ‘The Psychologist‘ had an excellent book review of Zimbardo’s recent work ‘The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil‘ written by Phil Banyard. The review highlights the very real holes and pitfalls in Zimbardo’s ‘it’s not my fault I was told to’ argument.
The driving force for Philip Zimbardo to write The Lucifer Effect was ‘the need to better understand the how and why of the physical and psychological abuses perpetrated on prisoners by American Military Police at the Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq’ (p.18). Zimbardo was not alone in seeing something of the Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) in the behaviour of guards, so he started to present an explanation of this abuse based on the study he was director of over 35 ago years. The questions for the reader are whether there is anything new to learn about the SPE after 30 years and whether it can tell us anything about Abu Ghraib.
A well written review and as always ‘The Psychologist’ is always worth a read to see what’s new in psychology.