1. Discuss whether you think the following statements about torture are true or false

 

T

F

 

I could never under any circumstances torture another human being.

 

 

The people who torture others are mentally sick.

 

 

If I was in a group which accepted torture, I would accept it as well.

 

 

It is easier to abuse people from other cultures than it is to abuse people from my own culture.

 

 

Torturers are victims of special circumstances.

 

 

We cannot judge soldiers who torture prisoners. It is their commanding officers who are to blame.

 

 

 

If torturers feel that their actions are approved of and necessary, they will be more inclined to behave in obnoxious ways.

 

 

If I was isolated from my family and friends, it would be easier to participate in torture.

 

 

It doesn’t matter how we speak of other people, we still treat them the same way.

 

 

3. The Zimbardo experiment

a) Watch the Zimbardo experiment. You may find these links useful

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0jYx8nwjFQ

or

http://www.prisonexp.org/psychology/2

 

b) Take notes individually and choose three factors which you consider the most important in changing ordinary students into torturers. Discuss your choices in groups.

 

c) What was the effect of the experiment on the ‘prisoners’?

 

4. Vocabulary. Match word and explanation

accountability

word:

a very cruel act

absolve

word:

extremely unpleasant

obnoxious

word:

offensive, insulting or cruel

perpetrator

word:

to give one’s support to a course of action

tacitly

word:

enjoying watching or inflicting physical or mental suffering

approval

  

word:

understood without being put into words

atrocity

word:

responsibility

abusive

word:

savage cruelty

sadistical

word:

the feeling that something is acceptable or good

endorse

word:

a person who commits a crime or does something wrong

barbarity

word:

to declare that somebody is free of guilt or blame

Learning check

In pairs: student A reads out the definitions to student B and without looking at the task, student B has to come up with the matching words. Then student B reads out the words to student A and without looking at the task, student A has to come up with the definition of the words.

 

5. Use the word in italics to form a new word that fits in the gap

a) Many computer frauds are ____________________________________ by ordinary people.               perpetrator

 

b) The citizens witnessed ___________________________________________ acts of brutality.                         atrocity

 

c) The audience ______________________________________ of the decision to permit torture.               approval

 

d) The soldiers behaved __________________________________________ because they thought they would

    not be held accountable.                    obnoxious

 

e) The photographs showed Americans _________________________________ Iraqi prisoners.        abusive

 

f) It is the confession not the priest that gives us ___________________________________.             absolve

 

g) Some people claim that the _______________________________________ were just victims of

    circumstances.             torture

 

Link collection