Human Behavior Experiments

I'm a pretty happy guy, and I love sharing the happiness I find online with whoever might be interested. That's why this blog is filled with what I think is awesome and exciting stuff that I hope inspires people to further educate themselves. I've received some feedback suggesting this has already happened in some modest and not so modest measure a few times already, which is awesome...

Today's entry, however, deals with the darker side of humanity. The videos below are sequences of a documentary entitled Human Behavior Experiments, followed by some lively discussion, which deals with the idea that being situated in specific circumstances has a very significant influence, almost deterministic at times, on the behavior of the people involved.

Through the use of well documented psychological research dating back to the 1960's and 70's, the documentary challenges the conventional wisdom that there is a certain unchanging essence to who we are, and that there are certain things we would never do, no matter what the circumstances. As it turns out, however, it seems that we can't be judges of what we might do without actually having actually been in the situation in question; a very disconcerting and disturbing prospect indeed.

The following is an interview of Dr. Phillip Zimbardo (from the Stanford Prison Experiment) conducted by Michael Shermer, founder of the Skeptic's Society, for the Skepticality podcast discussing these issues further, as well as Zimbardo's latest book, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.

After having watched this, can you honestly say you would never do what many of these people did? How would you know?
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