Sunday, August 31, 2003

Hi Rod,

I've read the article by Zimbardo. There's an aspect related to the electroshock and the jail experiments I want to discuss here.
The first experiment is about behaving as someone deemed to be in authority directs us to. But the second is about behaving as it is expected according to one's social role -there wouldn't necessary be an 'authority', except that we consider a wider group or society at large as such. This makes the second example far more worrisome, as the 'script' is not written down by any person in particular -it's someting we all learn through socialization. In the first one, we behave in a given way because this is what we are told to do by someone whose authority we accept. In the second one, we behave in a given way because we know, or think we know, how a person in our situation would behave and we know, or think we know, that we are expected to behave in that way. It's a spine-shivering fact that this hypothesis has been widely validated!


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