Hello, my name is Anne Parker (but you can call me Carol Baker). . . This weekend marks the half-way point for the class of 2012. It seems like only yesterday since we began but for the fact that I’m so (freaking) tired.
Our September weekend has been, well, interesting. . . I think you will be as shocked as I was to learn that today, September 17, 2011, marks the 40th (plus one month) anniversary of the Stanford Prison Experiment. Yes, history’s most notorious and controversial psychology experiment orchestrated by Stanford researcher Philip Zimbardo was launched on August 17, 1971.
I’ll let that sink in.
One of my favorite blogs, Brain Pickings recalled the experiment and quoted Zimbardo:
“The study makes a very profound point about the power of situations – that situations affect us much more than we think, that human behavior is much more under the control of subtle situational forces, in some cases very trivial ones, like rules and roles and symbols and uniforms, and much less under the control of things like character and personality traits than we ordinarily think of as determining behavior.”
Brain Pickings recalled that the experiment brought home a number of disturbing psychological dynamics: from the bystander effect, to in-group-out-group-bias, to the cognitive dissonance of the guards who had to reconcile their behavior after the fact.
Like I said, so much to learn, and re-learn, and learn again. What think you?