TED 2008: How Good People Turn Evil, From Stanford to Abu Ghraib

Stanford Prison Experiment leader Philip Zimbardo tells TED 2008 the lessons he learnt from that ordeal about evil and how it applied to Abu Ghraib: rather than change the person, focus on the circumstances that give people the opportunities to engage in ‘evil’ behaviour, avoid responsibility for their actions, and to rationalize away the repercussions. Zimbardo discusses with Wired Magazine the difference between understanding and explaining or condoning evil; the situational factors at Abu Ghraib; the comparisons between the Stanford Prison Experiment and Abu Ghraib; and how the heroism of individual whistleblowers needs to evolve into a coalition of at least three people to have an impact in organizational change. In unrelated news, Christopher McQuarie will release a Stanford Prison Experiment-themed film in 2008.

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