That a good, intelligent, and thoughtful person like Tony Lagouranis could torture innocent people seems remarkable ["Confessions of a Torturer," March 2]. However, given the large number of scientific studies conducted by social psychologists since World War II, this should not be surprising. Many studies have shown how easy it is to corrupt good people (e.g., Milgram's studies of obedience to authority, Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment, etc). Unfortunately, many people are forced to learn the lessons of social psychology the hard way, through firsthand experience with bad situations. I encourage people to read Aronson's excellent overview of social psychology, The Social Animal (2004). The lessons of social psychology would help people to be more aware of some of the powerful situational forces that constrain and guide their behavior every day.
Dr. Nick Herrera
Columbia College, Roosevelt University