Can the character and moral of a human being change before a person’s money, Fame, personality, clothing, position or power? Humans in this world need rules and laws, follow orders, and obey them. While complying with the law people avoid problems and keep peace on mind, but what about when people obey orders to commit abominable or horrendous acts. Can they coupe with it, do they feel remorse or they feel that they are just receiving orders and it is not their responsibility or fault? People can also do things influenced by others. They can behave, think, act and react different with different people, group or situations. There are two powerful situations and points in humans lives that are been experimented. They are conformity and obedience and the results are chocking. The experiment has showed how regular or normal people with morals and principles can engage in improper acts and in very great degree of cruelty, also it showed how people change under the influence of others changing what their own beliefs and many times their own morals or principles.
First People believe that the actions and morals of other person can show in their character. The people’s beliefs that character of human’s beings can show or reflect what they are capable of have been proven wrong. The study conducted by Philip Zimbardo of Stamford University and his colleges showed the wrongness of this believe. Also showed how the brain can trick us and make us believe on things that are not real in difficult situations. The Stamford Prison Experiment was proved that humans mind and morality can be distorted. ‘Most of the participants said they felt involved and committed. The research had felt “real” to them’. The Stanford Prison Experiment (Saul Mcleod). People under pressure and destress enter into panic state, their brain cannot assimilate the reality. In this experiment one of students who was in the experiment as a prisoner in less than 36 hours begin to suffer from acute emotional disturbance disorganized thinking, uncontrollable crying and range. (Zimbardo) this is regular good person going into emotional distress forgetting reality after being abused for 36 hours. He forgot that it was an experiment because guards were treating him as if he was a real prisoner. But what about the guards, why they took the role so seriously and begin to abuse the students and feel power over them.“ These guards appeared to thoroughly enjoy the power they wielded yet none of our preliminary personality test were able to predict this behavior.” (prisonerexp.org.) the guard forgot that the prisoners were just colleges student and they began to implement excessive force towards them. They felt impower and liked the role they were playing. The guards and the experiment conductor didn’t predict this kind of behavior. “What power does is that liberates the true self to emerge.” “More of us walk around with kind of social norms; we work in groups of social exert all pressure to conform. Once you get into a position of power, then you can be whoever you really are.” (How power corrupts the minds). The human’s behavior and actions unpredictable and can be manipulated.
Second people often change their attitude, the way they behave, talk around other people, and circumstances adapting to them. People do not want to be out of the circle because they do not want to be criticized later. This kind of behavior is called “conformity”. In the conformity experiment done by an American- Polish psychologist Solomon Ash describes how people can be manipulated and changed to fit the circumstances for not to be criticized. In this experiment participants were going to compare length of some lines. Simple as that, but people answers were not accurate. In the experiment were other people who were acting as participants and they will give the wrong answer on the length of the lines to see the reaction of the participants. They went along with the actors even if they know they were wrong. “When they were interviewed after the experiment, most of them said that they did not believe their conforming answers, but they had gone alone with the group for fear of being ridiculed or thought “peculiar.” (Ash conformity simply psychology). Adjusting to other people or circumstances fells better for this people and they putted the truth to the side so they can not be judge or criticized.
Another experiment called The Milgram Experiment conducted by a social psychologist Stanley Milgram on obedience to authority figures, showed how normal people can be manipulated to do cruel acts. This experiment consisted on to give high volts of electricity to another human being and see how far people can go and if they obey because the figure of the person that was giving orders or morality will take over and they stop the experiment. The result was shocking 65% of the participants continue to the highest level of volts and rest of the participants continued to 300 volts McLeod says. (Saul Mcleod p.584). The conclusion people are likely to follow orders given by authority figure to the extent of killing an innocent human being says Milgram. People tend to obey orders from other people if they recognize right or legally base. Because the experiment conductor told the person they will take the responsibility of whatever happen to the person receiving the volts the participants continued. They forgot of morals and humanity, was more important to obey than care for an innocent person. As the good Samaritan by Professor Lee Ross and Professor Richard E Nisbett Director of Research Center for Group Dynamics at the University of Michigan people help only if is convenient to them. He set this scenario to consider; While walking briskly to a meeting some distance across the college campus, John comes across a man slumped in a doorway, asking for help. The Power of Situations (Ross Lee and Nisbett p.579). Will he stop and help. Another part of the writing show how people will only stop if they have time or is convenience for them. How convenient is just help when people are not busy or have spare time. Helping other human in trouble shows people’s morals and principles.
In conclusion people can be manipulated to able fit in society, changing the way they really are and believe. These experiments gave specific details and answers to different situations in peoples characters, believes, morals and principles. Human beings can choose to obey a person that represents authority and commit horrible things and crimes or choose humanity, morals and principles to save lives of innocent people. People cannot predict other person’s actions because their character or believes. Humans are unpredictable creatures and can change on circumstances or under pressure. Extending the hand to the needy, putting values and integrity first following by morals and principles, not allowing authority figures or the wealthy change the way of peoples believes, trying to adapt to circumstances or people’s ideas that are wrong this world will be a better place to live.
- Mcleod, Saul. “The Stanford Prison Experiment.” Stanford Prison Experiment | Simply Psychology, www.simplypsychology.org/zimbardo.html.
- Mcleod, Saul. “Solomon Asch – Conformity Experiment.” Asch Conformity Experiment | Simply Psychology, www.simplypsychology.org/asch-conformity.html.
- Brian Resnick, National Journal. “How Power Corrupts the Mind.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 9 July 2013, www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/07/how-power-corrupts-the-mind/277638/.
- Behrens, Rosen. Reading and Writing across the curriculum. “The Power of Situations” Lee Rose, Nisbett. April 2016. Page 579.
- Behrens, Rosen. Reading and Writing across the curriculum. “The Milgram Experiment”. Saul McLeod. 2007. Page 584.