Coursework "Language and Thinking"

Date: Nov 8, 2018

Types of Reasoning Process Shown in the Movie

  • The inductive reasoning process is one of the most significant reasoning processes shown in the movie. It is worth noting that the inductive reasoning process entails individuals moving from a specific observation in the reasoning process to a wider and generalized form of thinking. The most significant example of this is when Travis discovers that Benjy is suffering from diabetes. He has a more specific position before going forward to a wider perspective of the disease.
  • The second reasoning process noticeable in the movie is deductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning starts from a wider aspect of the issue before moving to the specific element. An example of this is seen where the basic rules relating to prisoners are outlined. They begin from a general description that prisoners should eat every day. It is then specifically stated that prisoners must have all the three meals a day.
  • The third process of reasoning shown in the movie is the use of heuristics. It is crucial to understand that heuristics are the mental shortcuts that give individuals an opportunity to make quicker decisions relating to a situation they might be experiencing. The most significant example of heuristic use in the movie is when Travis manages react faster to run away from the camera that is secretly capturing his actions while he is in the boiler. He is able to run away at an instinct and manages to save other prisoners along the way.
  • The last reasoning process shown in the movie is illusionary correlation. Illusionary correlation refers to the firm perception of a connection between variables when no relationship exists or only minor relationships can be detected. An example of illusionary correlation is the scene when Barris assumes that the failure of the red lights to come on is an indication of the view that his actions are commensurate.

Factors that Would Lead Prisoners to Attribute Guard Brutality

According to Haney, Banks, and Zimbardo (1973), one of the most significant factors that would lead prisoners to attribute guard brutality to the guard’s disposition is the level of the guard’s education. Prisoners would tend to assume that the guard’s brutality emanates from his low level of education, and the lack of adequate knowledge relating to effective management of prisoners. This is in line with the belief that low levels of education would necessarily lead a guard to operating in a manner that is not characteristic of a normal person. Therefore, prisoners would tend to believe that the guard’s brutality is mainly motivated by low levels of education.

Another significant factor is the sadistic nature of the guards. Prisoners would tend to believe that the brutality of the guard is motivated by his sadistic behavior to inflict pain upon other people. Some guards may enjoy seeing prisoners suffer and live deplorable lives while in prison. Prisoners would attribute the brutality of the guards to the cruel nature of the guard even in instances where they are supposed to engage in better relations with their prisoners. Sadism tends to make guards enjoy the suffering that prisoners experience as they serve their sentences in incarceration.

The third factor that would lead prisoners to attribute guard brutality to the guard’s character is the level of sensitivity among prisoners. Insensitivity among prisoners is deemed a key contributor to guard brutality in relation to the character of the guards. Zimbardo (n.d.) affirms that insensitivity implies that they do not care about the pain caused to prisoners through punishment. This also comes about because of non-adherence to the provisions of prison management. Therefore, the level of sensitivity among guards is a key factor that would make prisoners attribute brutality to their characteristics.

Police Procedures Used During Arrests

The police procedures used during arrests were highly discriminative because they did not take into consideration the rights and freedoms of suspects. It is worth noting that the police procedures used during the arrest did not give the suspects an opportunity to explain their position to the matter before being arrested. O’Toole (1997) asserts that suspects were not given the opportunity to defend their action in line with the law, as they were perceived to be obviously wrong at all times. This means that every mistake seen by the police was perceived to be right at all times, hence leading to massive arrests of prisoners. Most of these arrests were made without adequate information relating to the offense the suspect had committed. They were mostly based on what the police said about the suspect.

Additionally, there was some sense of abruptness in the arrest and subsequent public embarrassment of the suspects. It is worth noting that the police arrests were always abrupt, and this tended to ambush individuals that were not aware of the police presence. The suspects were also embarrassed in front of other people by being manhandled by the police during the arrest. Therefore, force was highly applied by the police when making arrests. They did not care whether the individual had committed the alleged offense or not as their main aim was to pounce on somebody and embarrass him in public during the arrests.

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The arrests were also conducted at random times during the day. The police did not have specific times to make the arrests. They could stage their arrests at any time of the day. They believed that setting specific time for arrests would put more people on alert hence ensuring there were no offenses committed by these individuals. The police focused on conducting these arrests in non-specified time intervals with the belief that more criminals would be brought on board.

These procedures left many people confused and fearful because of their uncertainty and unfair manner in which they were being executed. It is crucial to note that most individuals were never aware when the police could decide to ambush them and arrest them. Scheuring (2010) indicates that they were fearful because they believed that the police could never listen to their positions during the arrest. The notion that members of the police force were always right inflicted fear among most people because they believed that it was easy for anyone to be arrested in line with such procedures.

Prisoners did not like their own internment. They thought it was only meant to subject them to suffering rather than the intended correction. This was mainly propagated by the police brutality that did not care of their positions. In fact, they were shocked at how the police handled them even in instances when they were supposed to have friendly interactions.

Other Prisons Apart from Physical Prisons

Apart from the physical prisons made of steel and concrete, we tend to create psychological prisons for others and ourselves in the ordinary course of life. One of these prisons is the silent prison of shyness that tends to make us our own guards and prisoners. It is worth noting that shyness is a key psychological prison that tends to put one at the edge, hence limiting his/her actions. Shy individuals become their own prisoners because they do not feel free to interact with other people. They tend to have a psychological feeling of being inferior to other people. Therefore, they would prefer keeping off some places and avoiding some people because of the feeling that they cannot interact with them effectively. On the other hand, shyness makes individuals their own guards as they exhibit some level of control in their own actions relative to others. A shy person would be psychologically unprepared to associate with other people and would tend to control his/her own actions to avoid a scenario of interaction.

Another psychological prison we create for others is the illusion we create in neurosis where one of the parts of a person is told to be hopeless and inadequate and the other part becomes the personal guard to the individual. In our daily lives, we tend to create prisoners for other individuals by making them feel inadequate and hopeless on every given day. We imprison them by making them feel low in the society, by intimidating them and disregarding their worthiness in the society. However, these individuals tend to have a personal guard inside them, which aims to motivate them to rise above our negativities. This explains the prison-guard relationship that exists in this form of prison.

Physical prisons differ from psychological prisons created through diverse aspects such as racism, sexism, ageism, and poverty in the sense that they involve a person being confined at one particular point without being allowed to move from one point to the next. Notably, physical prisons involve the incarceration of an individual within a particular stated point while psychological prisons do not have this element. Psychological prisons do not have the element of limited movement among individuals. They tend to be guided more by the stereotypes we have for other individuals without necessarily limiting their movement. However, the incarceration in physical prisons may only take place for a certain time until the individual is left to be free again. Psychological prisons tend to persist over generations as similar stereotypes to a group of individuals in the society are passed on to the following generation in the society. Therefore, physical prisons differ from psychological prisons because they limit the movement of an individual over a defined period while psychological prisons do not limit the movement of an individual but can persist for a longer period in the individual’s life.

The Ethical Nature of the Study

It was not ethical to do this study. Accordingly, it was not ethical to do this study because of the potential effects it was going to have on prisoners. Numerous instances of guard brutality and the demeaning nature of the guards in the study eliminates the ethical nature of this study implying that it was not ethical to conduct such a study. Zimbardo reiterates that it did not meet the minimum ethical threshold required for the recognition of human rights and freedoms in the society (“Interview with Philip Zimbardo”, 2009). Again, it was not ethical to conduct the study because of the unethical lessons it tends to pass to the society. The study tends to show members of the society that prisoners are nothing and should be treated with a high level of brutality. However, this is not in line with the desired ethical principles envisaged by individuals across the world. The study could have only been conducted in instances when the rights and freedoms of individuals could have been assured and prioritized to avoid abuse.

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It is not right to trade the suffering experienced by participants for the knowledge of the study. This could have been done differently by ensuring that participants did not undergo any form of suffering. It is not right to take the suffering encountered by participants as an excuse for the collection of the desired results for the study. Haney, Banks, and Zimbardo (1973) affirm that this could be done differently by moderating the conditions under which participants operated. The level of suffering could have been reduced by embracing a fictional study and ensuring that the behavior of the guards was regulated in the most appropriate manner. This could have prevented suffering among the participants because they would have been treated by the guards looking after them in the correctional facility with the required level of dignity and discipline. Thus, the existing alternatives imply that it is not right to trade the suffering experienced by participants for the knowledge of the study. It would have been done in a different manner that adheres the principles of an ethical study.

Recommendations about Changing the Correctional System

In light of the experiment, prisons are supposed to have a corrosive effect on incarcerated individuals. However, this is not the right way to treat individuals in the correctional facility, because it directly violates the ethical codes of conduct.

One of the key recommendations about changing the correctional system is that guards must be properly trained in matters relating to ethical handling of prisoners. I would recommend that the correctional facility in my country embrace training aimed at teaching individuals about the importance of handling prisoners in an ethical manner that preserves their rights and freedoms. This would lead to a change in the way police officers relate to prisoners. Again, prisoners would have a proper chance of learning the best behaviors efficiently through the ethical manner in which they are treated.

Additionally, it is recommended that all correctional facilities vet their guards to ensure that only those that meet the integrity levels relating to prisoner treatment are retained. My country should accommodate a vetting exercise that takes into consideration the integrity of each guard. Those who exhibit higher levels of integrity should be left to continue with the duty of overseeing prisoners as they recover from their mistakes. However, guards with low integrity levels should be removed from the correctional facilities, as they would not be of any assistance in the correction of prisoners.

Lastly, it is recommended that the correctional facility in my country changes the overall culture of facility management. Changing the culture means staying updated all the time. Correctional facilities should be updated every time in terms of zero tolerance to the harassment of prisoners. There should be modern monitoring of guards using CCTV cameras that would ensure that harassment is eliminated and prisoners are able to live better lives. Additionally, the recruitment process could be made to be more modern in the sense that it only takes in individuals who are committed to protecting the rights and freedoms of prisoners even as they serve their terms.

Relationship between the Wave and the Experiment

The movie The Wave has something in common with the film The Experiment watched in class. Both of these movies are based on experiments that turn out to be intimidating to some of the participants in the course of the experiment. Gansel (2008) opines that The Wave is based on the experiment that illustrates the manner in which individuals are likely to embrace fascism once motivated to do so. Most students in the experiment seem to embrace fascism while others remain opposed to it. This leads to further divisions that culminate into the intimidation of students opposed to the fascism wave using threats and unnecessary punishments. There are fights between the opposing members of the wave with fascists focused on ensuring that the opposing movement is fully punished. Gansel (2008) brings out the view that the extreme levels of punishment lead to suffering of some students during the experiment hence calling on their teacher to call for the termination of the experiment. This is similar to the experiment we watched in class where police officers tried everything possible to intimidate prisoners using punishments and force. The officers subject most of these prisoners to suffering, hence not allowing them an opportunity to live freely as had been envisaged at the start of the experiment. Overall, both of these movies have instances of intimidation and punishment of the perceived minority groups. Fascists try to intimidate anarchists in The Wave, as police officers handle prisoners brutally in The Experiment movie. Again, both experiments ended prematurely because of the high tensions and emotions that were rising between the two separate groups taking part in the experiments. The controllers of the experiments were forced to end them because of the excessive level of suffering among some participants.

Adolescents Becoming Part of these Social Processes

Adolescents are vulnerable to become part of the social processes highlighted in both The Wave and The Experiment. It is worth acknowledging that adolescents are daring individuals who like to explore different happenings in life. This means that they are highly vulnerable to join movements such as the fascist wave shown in the movie. They are always hyperactive and fancy trying anything new that comes up. This means that they are likely to be part of these social movements. Again, they could easily become part of the social processes involving the police and prisoners. This would again be motivated by their urge to know more about the happenings in their lives and the reactions of other people toward their actions.

Notably, adolescents are highly vulnerable because they have a potential of being easily influenced by factors or individuals they believe in. Adolescents are highly vulnerable to join these social processes because of their easy response to the influence of their peers or individuals older than they are. The existing level of influence would mean they join such social processes to explore the world around them. They would want to experience what their peers experience or they would want to take part in such movements with an aim of impressing an older person. They might not participate in these social processes at their own will, but the excessive level of influence and societal pressures would motivate them to be part of it. They would not want to look as if they are left behind in the eyes of their peers.

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More so, I think adolescents are vulnerable to being involved in these social processes, because they are always in search of personal identity at this stage. The search for personal identity among adolescents would mean they become part of these social movements in the society. They would easily be made to believe that they would get personal identity by being part of these movements and playing a contributory role in their enhancement within the society. Adolescents would want to assert their personal identity by being part of such movements and gaining the required level of recognition from the society. Therefore, the motivation to gain personal identity would mean that adolescents are most likely to be part of these social processes.

Critical Thought and Its Development

Critical thought refers to the ability of an individual to determine whether an action is true, partially true, or false through an effective thinking process. Notably, critical thought always involves a keen analysis of all the issues surrounding an action and determines whether it is true or false. It requires a sharpened mind that would give an objective thought toward particular actions before taking a position on the truth of the action.

Critical thought could be developed in diverse ways during the school years. Firstly, it could be developed by enhancing value objective reality among students. Understanding reality and living with reality is the only way to achieve critical thought. This reality should be developed in the sense that it works independent of our own desires, whims, objectives and interests. Objective reality on different matters helps a person separate different elements of the action clearly identifying what could be false or true. Thus, critical thought could be developed during the school years by teaching individuals to understand value of the objective reality in their analysis of actions.

Secondly, it could be developed by keeping an open mind. Objective thought could only be achieved with an open mind that is open to reality. In most instances, a closed mind is always cut off from reality, hence making it difficult for individuals to develop critical thought. This will be helpful in accommodating varying points of view relating to the situation before settling on a particular decision relating to the matter.

Lastly, critical thought could be developed by avoiding the bandwagon effect. This means that an individual should avoid subscribing to a notion simply because it is popular. Individuals aiming to achieve critical thought do not just follow other peoples’ ideas, because they sound appropriate. However, they keep independent ideas to actions.

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