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Put in the right circumstances every human being has the potential to be a sadist In The Stanford Prison Experiment Phillip G Zimbardo examines how easily people can slip into roles and become sadistic to the people around them even going so far as to develop a sense of supremacy He does this by explaining the results of his experiment that he created to understand more about the effects that imprisonment has on prisoners and how a prison environment affects the guards who work there In her article The Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal Sources of Sadism Marianne Szegedy-Maszak looks at the Abu Ghraib atrocities and the possible reasons why normal people turned into sadists who committed unfathomable acts of torture Although Szegedy-Maszak and Zimbardo both suggest that every person has the potential to be a torturer Zimbardos experiment adds specificity to Szegedy-Maszaks claims Szegedy-Maszak speaks generally about dehumanization whereas Zimbardo uses his experiment to delve deeper into despotism and the role it plays in prisons the evidence of dehumanization in prison environments is further complicated by the notion of internal and external attitudes Szegedy-Maszak and Zimbardo recognize that every human being can become someone who delights in the pain of others Dehumanization is a key element in this change from a caring person to a sadist According to Robert Okin a professor of psychiatry dehumanization allows people to sever any empathetic human connection Szegedy-Maszak 304 they may have felt towards a person Through interviews and studies Zimbardo discovered that prisoners often report feeling dehumanized his goal was to incorporate this feeling into his prison if possible While conducting his experiment he saw a degree of dehumanization occur that was astounding for the short period of time that the study was carried out Szegedy-Maszak says that authorization leads to routinization which ultimately leads to dehumanization She claims that these three traits were present at Abu Ghraib In Zimbardos experiment a group of twenty-one college-age males were
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