_______________________________________________________________________________WHAT MAKES GOOD PEOPLE DO BAD THINGS?by Melissa Dittmann 2004As the story goes, Dr. Jekyll uses a chemical to turn into his evil alter ego, Dr. Hyde.1In real life, however, no chemical may be needed. Instead, just the right dose of certain social situations can transform ordinarily good people into evildoers. This was the case with Iraqi prisoner abusers at Abu Ghraib,2argued former APA president Philip G. Zimbardo, PhD, in a presidential-track program during APA's 2004 Annual Convention in Honolulu.Indeed, Zimbardo—an emeritus3psychology professor at Stanford University—highlighted how this Dr. Hyde transformation occurred among U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib by presenting classic psychology research on situational effects on human behavior. Zimbardo, who will be an expert witness for several of the U.S. soldiers on trial, argued that situations pull people to act in ways they never thought imaginable."That line between good and evil is permeable,"4Zimbardo said. "Any of us can move across it...I argue that we all have the capacity for love and evil—to be Mother Theresa, to be Hitler or Saddam Hussein. It's the situation that brings that out."SEDUCED INTO EVILIn fact, the classic electric shock experiment by social psychologist Stanley Milgram, PhD, showed that when given an order by someone in authority, people would deliver what they believed to be extreme levels of electrical shock to other study participants who answered questions incorrectly.Zimbardo said the experiment provides several lessons about how situations can foster evil:●Provide people with an ideology5to justify beliefs for actions.●Make people take a small first step toward a harmful act with a minor, trivial6action and then gradually increase those small actions.