The Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal Essay

The Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal Essay

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Marianne Szegedy-Maszak, a senior writer at U.S. News and World, published her article, "The Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal: Sources of Sadism," in 2004. She uses the article to briefly overview the scandal as a whole before diving into what can trigger sadistic behavior. The Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal took place in 2004, wherein American troops humiliated and tortured Iraqi detainees (Szegedy-Maszak 75). The main objective of Szegedy-Maszak’s article is to investigate the causation behind sadistic behavior, exclusively in the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal. She effectively does so by gathering information and research from professional psychologists and professors of psychology, specifically Herbert Kelman and Robert Okin (Szegedy-Maszak 76). She finds that often times a direct order from an authority figure can cause a person’s ethical reasoning to come into question. Throughout Szegedy-Maszak’s article, she alludes to Stanley Milgram, a Yale psychologist and the author of “The Perils of Obedience.” Milgram’s article is a publication of his 1963 experiment, commonly called the Milgram Experiment. Within this experiment, random participants labeled the “teachers” were told to administer shocks of dangerous voltage to another participant labeled the “learner” (Milgram 78). Although the “teachers” were real random participants, the “learners” were in fact actors who followed a script and never actually received a single shock. Milgram was astounded by his results. He concluded that about two-thirds, 65%, of the subjects fell into the “obedient” category and administered the highest levels of shocks (Milgram 85). Szegedy-Maszak and Milgram both effectively evaluate the sources behind the two confounding variables of unexplained sadism: the p...


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... ideology of social pressure. Kendra Cherry, a psychology expert from www.psychology.about.com, used a direct quote from Milgram where he stated, “The social psychology of this century reveals a major lesson: often it is not so much the kind of person a man is as the kind of situation in which he finds himself that determines how he will act.”
Despite how some may feel towards the Milgram Experiment and the Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal, both enlightened the world of psychology in an effective way through their findings. Milgram’s experiment shows that under the pressure of authority, ordinary people are capable of more sadistic behavior than expected. Likewise, Szegedy-Maszak uncovered the true power of authority and how this power has the ability to cloud judgement. The world takes a specific view of these situations, but the underlying factors cannot be overlooked.

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The Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal Essay

- Marianne Szegedy-Maszak, a senior writer at U.S. News and World, published her article, "The Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal: Sources of Sadism," in 2004. She uses the article to briefly overview the scandal as a whole before diving into what can trigger sadistic behavior. The Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal took place in 2004, wherein American troops humiliated and tortured Iraqi detainees (Szegedy-Maszak 75). The main objective of Szegedy-Maszak’s article is to investigate the causation behind sadistic behavior, exclusively in the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal....   [tags: Stanford prison experiment, Psychology]

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