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A Situationist Perspective on the Psychology of Evil Essay

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Dr. Zimbardo uses a situationist perspective on the ways through which anti-social behavior is understood, treated and prevented. This view contrasts with the traditional dispositional perspective, which locates evil within individual predispositions and looks at a person's internal factors and traits. The situationist perspective is different in that, unlike the dispositional perspective, it often uses experimental and laboratory research to demonstrate vital phenomena, whereas other perspectives may only use archival or correlational data to suggest such answers. The main example that illustrates through experimental research and social analysis is the ease by which "ordinary," good people are induced into behaving in evil ways.

In his research paper, he discusses studies on deindividuation, aggression, vandalism, bystander failures, torturers, death squad violence workers and terrorist suicide-bombers as acts of violence and evil. He defines evil as intentionally behaving - or causing others to act - in ways that demean, dehumanize, harm, destroy, or kill innocent people. ...


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