Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Nature of Conformity

In this article, the "nature" of blind obedience in questioned. With an emphasis on Milgram's shock experiment, and Zimbardo's Stanford Prison experiment, the article takes a look at what made those studies so effective, and whether it's just about humanity's blind instinct to obey an authoritative figure, or whether specific individuals are what makes the difference. As one of the "prisoner" contestants states to one of the students who played a guard: "If I had been a guard I don't think it would have been such a masterpiece."
The article states that "the Zimbardo-inspired tyranny was made possible by the active engagement of enthusiasts rather than the leaden conformity of automatons."
The article goes on to question the BANALITY OF EVIL thesis, which suggests that all men and women becomes subjects to authority through obedience eventually. The article states that in order for people to become truly obedient and successful participants for studies such as Milgram and Zimbardo's, it requires a certain amount of creativity, active action, and involvement. Although I agree with them in some respects, I think that they are diminishing the feel of a "role" that people take on. Zimbardo's Prison experiment shows us how people conform to what they feel they should be doing in their given role. Although some took more of an initiative when given the role, and played a more active role, the initial spark that began those reactions and thoughts came from the idea of a role to play, and the power or submission that comes along with it.

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