L’effet Lucifer

Pourquoi les gens ordinaires deviennent-ils parfois des bourreauxamp#160;? La transformation la plus extrême est bien sûr celle de l'ange favori de Dieuamp#160;: Lucifer – dont l’histoire a jeté les bases d’enquêtes psychologiques sur des changements humains face à l'influence corrosive de puissantes forces situationnelles.

Présentes dans bon nombre de cadres comportementaux communs, les forces en question dénaturent notre bonté habituelle en nous poussant à adopter un comportement déviant, destructeur ou mauvais. En milieu nouveau et non familier, la boussole morale qui nous guidait correctement jusque là ne préserve plus la façon dont nous pensons, ressentons les choses et agissons.

Ces 30 dernières années, les recherches de mes collègues, ainsi que les miennes, ont montré la relative aisance avec laquelle les personnes lambda peuvent être amenées à adopter un comportement que l’on qualifierait de mauvais. Nous avons soumis les participants à des expériences où de puissantes forces situationnelles – l'anonymat, les groupes de pressions ou la répartition des responsabilités personnellesamp#160;– les ont fait obéir aveuglément à l'autorité et agressé des innocents après les avoir déshumanisés.

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