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December 30, 2005
To Err Is Human

I'm taking a mini-holiday break but I did want to point out To Err Is Human.

Although this article doesn't go into minute details, I think what the social psychologists are studying is why social conditioning breaks down sometimes. (For instance, how a group of "normal" young men and women* could wind up at Abu Ghraib, torturing helpless prisoners.)

But it's about more than that. It's about social groupings in society and how changing groups can alter people's responses to situations.

"It is the breakdown of groups and resulting sense of powerlessness that creates the conditions under which tyranny can triumph," Haslam holds.

I'm frustrated that this an an article about papers that will be written and not a paper in itself. The information presented is very suggestive and really quite fascinating. I'd really like to read it in much more depth.

Still. I offer what's there, for what it's worth, for consideration.


* Although it seems clear that these experiments have been conducted without including women at all. So, I guess the studies are around why men can be such brutes, which seems kinda sexist, but I do understand that, in our culture, adding wimmin to the mix would create such a confused dynamic that the social psychologists would be hard-pressed to sort out motivations.

On behalf of my gender, though, let me point out that we can be as stupid, selfish, brutal, and arrogant as men any day.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:28 AM