"How we went about testing these questions and what we found may astound you. Our planned two-week investigation into the psychology of prison life had to be ended after only six days because of what the situation was doing to the college students who participated. In only a few days, our guards became sadistic and our prisoners became depressed and showed signs of extreme stress. Please read the story of what happened and what it tells us about the nature of human nature."
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Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and the author of “The Language Instinct” and “The Stuff of
Thought: Language as a Window Into Human Nature.”
After the Russian Revolution, psychology was heavily promoted by the Bolsheviks as a way to engineer the "New Man" of socialism. Thus, university psychology departments trained large numbers of students, for whom positions were made available at schools, workplaces, cultural institutions, and in the military. An especial focus was pedology , the study of child development, regarding which Lev Vygotsky became a prominent writer.  The Bolsheviks also promoted free love and embranced the doctrine of psychoanalysis as an antidote to sexual repression.  Although pedology and intelligence testing fell out of favor in 1936, psychology maintained its privileged position as an instrument of the Soviet state.  Stalinist purges took a heavy toll and instilled a climate of fear in the profession, as elsewhere in Soviet society.  Following World War II, Jewish psychologists past and present (including Vygotsky, A. R. Luria , and Aron Zalkind) were denounced; Ivan Pavlov (posthumously) and Stalin himself were aggrandized as heroes of Soviet psychology.  Soviet academics was speedily liberalized during the Khrushchev Thaw , and cybernetics, linguistics, genetics, and other topics became acceptable again. There emerged a new field called "engineering psychology" which studied mental aspects of complex jobs (such as pilot and cosmonaut). Interdisciplinary studies became popular and scholars such as Georgy Shchedrovitsky developed systems theory approaches to human behavior.