The making of a torturer

Length: 4 Pages 917 Words

Political Prisoners and Torture How have various social psychological perspectives sought to explain the making of a torturer? O’Byrne (2003, p.192) Torture is an unlawful and immoral act which pain and suffering is inflicted upon a human being for many purposes, one of them being to extract information. There are a number of torture methods which are commonly used even today and this raises the question why and how torturers are brought about, which social and psychological factors contribute towards the making of a torturer and how do these factors explain it altogether? Although the impulse for aggression and destruction is part of a basic human instinct (O’Byrne 2003, p. 181) there are a number of theories that attempt to explain the making of a torturer – such as Adorno’s theory of the ‘authoritarian personality’, Milgram’s theory of obedience, and Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance in the studies by O’Byrne (2003 p.181). Adorno identified the authoritarian personality type as having these characteristics; the authoritarian personality does not want to give orders, their personality type wants to take orders. People with this type of pers Continue...

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In terms of adjusting our thoughts and beliefs with our actions, our thoughts or attitudes usually change to accommodate our actions and behavior. When there is an inconsistency between attitudes or behaviors (Dissonance) something must change to eliminate those inconsistencies. There are countless numbers of factors which could contribute to the making of a torturer but these theories are somewhat thought to be the most common and logical of the rest, these theories try to explain how anyone is put in the situation of torturing and the theories behind the torturer's abilities to go on with their actions. Although the "teachers" thought that they were administering shocks to the "learners", the "learners" were actually accomplices of the scientists who were never actually harmed. An Example of this would be the torturing of the Iraqi soldiers by American soldiers in the Iraq war. Milgram answered the call to this issue by performing a series of studies on obedience to authority. It is common for torturers to justify their actions as merely the carrying out of orders (O'Byrne 2003 p. The theory that only those on the lower class of society would submit to such cruelty is discharged. This theory of behavior explains how a torturer is brought about and the obligations of which are felt and the excuse to continue on with the act, therefore a torturer is made by this conception of duties as a subject. While a torturer might be a result of a social construction, studies were made into the willingness of people to inflict pain upon others. onality seek conformity, security and stability.