The Lucifer Effect: Understanding how good people turn evil – Article Review

Introduction

Human behavior is affected by a number of factors both internal and external. This makes it difficult to accurately predict their course of action when faced with different stressful situations. Studies conducted in the resent past show that external forces affect an individual’s reaction more than previously believed (Hong, 2012). The Lucifer effect is an ethical tool that helps us understand how good people may commit evil deeds. This effect describes how a normal person performs an evil deed. This effect sheds light on human vulnerabilities and shows how an individual to fall prey to impulse.

Summary

The Lucifer effect is an ethical tool that helps us understand how good people may commit evil deeds. It explains why people consciously make negative decisions. Philip Zimbardo argues that there are a number of factors that play part in decision making, which makes judging their actions challenging. To demonstrate this, Philip Zimbardo formulates an experiment in which students are turned into brutal inmates. The experiment revealed that when ordinary people are subjected to an environment that supports hostility, they readily assume sadistic roles. In line with this, he goes ahead to defend the actions of the solder who was accused of violence at Abu Ghraib.

Zimbardo also looked into how individuals behave when a higher authority instructs them to do things that may be viewed as evil(Hong, 2012).He analyzed an experiment in which nurses were asked to describe their action in the event that a doctor asked them to administer a maximum dose and a different set of nurses were asked to administer a maximum dose. The experiment revealed that majority of people overestimate their moral code in that although most people claim that they would stand their moral ground, this claim does not hold once placed in a real life situation. The nurses’ experiment revealed that once placed in a real life situation, majority of people will tend to follow those instructions despite the knowledge that it is wrong. According to him, this likelihood to follow authority blindly is greatly influenced by individuals’ coherent need to belong.

Lucifer effect aims to shed light on human vulnerabilities and show how easy it is for an individual to fall prey to impulse and/or the system. To avoid this, people should be conscious of the external forces that may trigger negative actions. In conclusion, Zimbardo urges his readers to hark back to their individuality also look up to people who have overcome autocracies of evil.

Analysis

The Lucifer effect shows that although people may not admit to it, they are less likely to make ethically upright decisions when faced by a situation that permits unethical behavior.Additionally, the article shows that people tend to overestimate their moral stand when asked what they would do if they found themselves in a given situation but when placed in the same situation, this claim does not hold(Hong, 2012).

Conclusion

Lucifer sheds light on people’s susceptibilities to impulse and the system. It points out some of the external forces that may trigger evil actions and explains how they can be addressed. According to Zimbardo, readers should focus on their individuality and to follow the examples of others who have overcome autocracies of evil.

Read The Article Hong, J. K. (2012). The Lucifer Effect: Understanding how good people turn evil.

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