El efecto Lucifer

¿Por qué personas buenas y corrientes a veces se vuelven perpetradoras del mal? La transformación más extrema de esa clase es, naturalmente, la historia del ángel favorito de Dios, Lucifer… y que ha constituido el marco para mis investigaciones psicológicas de transformaciones humanas menores como reacción a la influencia corrosiva de fuerzas situacionales poderosas.

Dichas fuerzas existen en muchos marcos comunes de comportamiento y alteran nuestro buen carácter habitual al incitarnos a caer en un comportamiento desviado, destructivo o perverso. Al encontrarse en ambientes nuevos y desconocidos, nuestras formas habituales de pensar, sentir y actuar dejan de funcionar para mantener la brújula moral que nos ha guiado de forma fiable en el pasado.

A lo largo de los tres últimos decenios, mis investigaciones y las de mis colegas han demostrado la relativa facilidad con la que se puede dirigir a personas corrientes para que adopten comportamientos considerados perversos. Hemos sometido a los participantes en las investigaciones a experimentos en los que fuerzas situacionales poderosas –anonimato, presiones grupales o difusión de responsabilidad personal- los incitan a obedecer ciegamente a la autoridad y agredir a otros inocentes después de deshumanizarlos.

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