"The Education of a Torturer" is an account of experiments that has similar results to that of Milgram's obedience experimentsthat were performed in 1963. Though both experiments vary drastically, both have one grim outcome, that is that, "it is ordinary people, not psychopaths, who become the Eichmanns of history."
The Stanford experiment was performed by psychologists Craig Haney, W. Curtis Banks, and Philip Zimbardo. Their goal was to find out if ordinary people could become abusive if given the power to do so. The results of the six day experiment are chilling.
The experiment took ordinary college students and had some agree to be prisoners and the rest would be guards for the prisoners. Both groups received no training on what to do or act like. They had to get all of their knowledge of what to do from outside sources, such as television and movies. The guards were given uniforms and night sticks and told to act like an ordinary guard would. The prisoners were treated like normal criminals. They were finger printed and booked, after that they were told to put on prison uniforms and then they were thrown into the slammer (in this case a simulated cellblock in the basement was used). All of the participants in this experiment at first were thought to be similar in behavior but after one week, all of that changed. The prisoners became "passive, dependent, and helpless." The guards on the other hand were the exact opposite. They became "aggressive and abusive within the prison, insulting and bullying the prisoners."
After the experiment was finished, many of the mock guards said that they enjoyed the power. Others said that they had no idea that they were capable of being so corrupt.
The experimenter was shocked at the results as well saying, "It was degrading....To me, those things are sick. But they (the prisoners) did everything I said. They abused each other because I requested them to. No one questioned my authority at all."
I have a hard time believing the statement that they experimenter said. He had reviewed the work of Stanley Milgram's experiment and how individuals became so violent. Haney, Banks, and Zimbardo had to of known that if they gave the power to take control of a situation the guards that the power would be abused. The experiment took place in 1986 and though there had been many years passed since Milgram's experiment was conducted in 1963, people then and still today try to get to the top of every situation. In this case, the guards were given the power, and it probably took a day or so before they began to abuse they power and abuse the inmates. If only they experiment would have been conducted a year later, Haney, Banks, and Zimbardo had to been able to foresee the outcome by reading Robert Reich's "An American Morality" which includes a parable entitled "Rot at the Top." The last line in the parable just goes to prove my point, "Power corrupts, privilege perverts." I agree to be totally because I can't think of anytime that I have seen somebody not take advantage of the power given to them in some way or form.
Haney, Banks, and Zimbardo had to one good thing come out of this experiment. That is that they used ordinary people just like Milgram years earlier and put them to the test. They subjects obviously failed because all of them showed that, "it is ordinary people, not psychopaths, who become the Eichmanns of history."
This article originally appeared

ESSAY SAMPLE ON "A CRITIQUE OF THE STANFORD EXPERIMENT" 7.1 of 10 on the basis of 2029 Review.