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The Human Behavior Experiments (2006)

TV Movie  -   -  Documentary  -  1 June 2006 (USA)
7.5
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Thomas Blass ...
Himself - Biographer
Herbert Winer ...
Himself - Milgram Experiment 'Teacher'
Buddy Stump ...
Himself - Mt. Washington Police Detective
Donna Summers ...
Herself - Former McDonald's Employee
John Darley ...
Himself - Social Psychologist
Charles Skoller ...
Himself - Former Queens Asssistant DA
Michael Carrington ...
Himself - Matthew Carrington's Father
Bibb Latane ...
Himself (archive footage)
Debbie Smith ...
Herself - Matthew Carrington's Mother
Greg Smith ...
Himself - Matthew Carrington's Stepfather
Michael Ramsey ...
Himself - Butte County DA
Thomas Resk ...
Himself - Medical Examiner
Gabe Maestretti ...
Himself - Matthew Carrington's Killer
Philip Zimbardo ...
Himself - Psychologist
Ken Davis ...
Himself - Abu Ghraib Veteran
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fascinating subject
3 March 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I think this documentary should be shown in every high school in the country, because it at least gives people the opportunity to be aware of, and thus able to guard against, the failings of human nature. The documentary does an excellent job of drawing parallels between classic psychological experiments and real life horrors like Abu Ghraib. These situations call into question how much responsibility we have for our actions; people do horrible things under the right circumstances, and someone in the movie says that people who will do the right thing are the exceptions rather than the rule, yet in the movie we see people whose behavior is both explainable and predictable according to these experiments who wound up doing jail time. It's a tricky question; can we hold people accountable for not being exceptional. (Of course, often, as in the case of Abu Ghraib, the responsibility falls on the people high up on the chain of command, who rarely have to pay for anything they do.) As a documentary, this movie comes across as what it is, a straightforward television documentary with a lot of talking heads and archival footage. The director has been more artful in his feature films, but with an intelligent approach to such a powerful, intriguing subject matter, artfulness is not required to make this riveting.


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