The Lucifer Effect

Topics: Stanford prison experiment, Philip Zimbardo, Milgram experiment Pages: 2 (699 words) Published: March 6, 2013
The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Bad Report

What makes good people do atrocious crimes? When you put on a uniform you are thirteen times more likely to commit heinous acts and the soldiers of the Abu Ghraib prison are only one of the many examples. The prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison were forced to partake in homosexual acts, suffered malnutrition, and had their sense of humanity taken away. These soldiers were taught to stick together and follow orders without question and if it wasn’t for one soldier who went and “blew the whistle” on his squad they would have gotten away with it and because of this he was labeled as the deviant. One might wonder what made these boys who defend our country commit such crimes, the answer is the Lucifer Effect.

The Lucifer Effect can be explained by three key factors that cause a person to lose a sense of self. Founded by Phillip Zimbardo he explained that people turn bad by explaining that they are either a “bad apple”, it is circumstantial, or systematic. These three elements are enough to turn any productive member of society and make them lose sight of any morals or ethics they once had. In turn, the factors might have a clear definition but the foundations on which they’re laid upon are shaky at best. For one can be eposed to all three but still come out the hero like that soldier or they can conform or go against the right path and fall victim to their own sadism that the Lucifer Effect causes.

During August 14 to the 20 of 1971 a group of Psychology students took part in a study that would later become known as the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment. These students were divided in half while the first group was given the role of guard while the other half was given the role of prisoner and the guards were told to do whatever they have to do to keep the prisoners in line. What would follow is not much different or less then what took place at the Abu Ghraib prison. Even Zimbardo took up...
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