Let me ask you a disturbing question.
“Would you electrocute a stranger?”
Most of you would respond with an emphatic no. But perhaps you are underestimating yourself.
I am neither doubting your character nor your sense of morality but empirical evidence suggests that human beings underestimate their own vulnerabilities that can turn them into evil. To support my claim let me take you through a fascinating experiment.
In 1971, Philip Zimbardo, a young psychologist from Stanford University, wanted to study the psychology of imprisonment i.e., study the roles people play in prison situations. So he invited students to participate in an experiment and randomly assigned them the roles of ‘prisoners’ and ‘guards’. Tests showed that all students were normal people and physically and mentally healthy. A simulated prison environment was created to mimic real-life prison conditions, where they lived for several days. As part of the role playing the ‘guards’ behaved aggressively and ‘prisoners’ behaved helplessly. [Read more…] about Latticework of Mental Models: Lucifer Effect