This presentation examines the psychosocial mechanisms by which people selectively disengage moral self-sanctions from inhumane conduct. The moral disengagement may center on redefining inhumane conduct as a benign or socially worthy one by moral justification, sanitizing language and expedient comparison with worse cruelty; disavowal of personal agency in the harm one causes by diffusing or displacement of responsibility; disregarding or minimizing the injurious effects of one's actions and dehumanizing those who are victimized and blaming them for bringing the suffering on themselves. Given the many mechanisms for disengaging moral control at individual and collective levels, civilized life requires in addition to human personal standard, safeguards built into social systems that uphold compassionate behavior and renounce cruelty.
*Sessions may be edited for content and to preserve confidentiality*
ALBERT BANDURA, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology, Stanford University. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science. Dr. Bandura is a proponent of Self-Efficacy Theory. This theory and its diverse applications are presented in his recently published book, Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control.
Bandura has been responsible for contributions to the field of education and to several fields of psychology, including social cognitive theory, therapy, and personality psychology, and was also of incluence in the transition between behaviorism and cognitive psychology. He is known as the originator of social learning theory (renamed the social cognitive theory) and the theoretical construct of self-efficacy, and is also responsible for the influential 1961 Bobo doll experiment. This Bobo doll experiment demonstrated the concept of observational learning.
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