Once groups are in conflict, can an individual make a difference? Or will they inevitably be dragged into the fight and forced to take sides? Are people slaves to the situation? Or can they reshape the situation? These questions – key questions for psychology – led us to introduce a new Prisoner, pDM, on Day 5.
pDM is an experienced Trades Unionist. A man skilled in negotiation, in bringing people together, in making deals and in moving things forward.
Like all the other Prisoners, he is told nothing beyond the fact that he will be taking part in a challenging experiment. Like the others, he arrives in a blacked out car, he is told to shower, to change into Prisoners uniform. His head is shaved. He is locked into a cell.
At first he is overwhelmed. Soon, though, he starts sizing up the situation. He watches. He asks. What are the Guards like? Are they united or divided? Who is strong and who is weak? And what about the Prisoners? Where does power really lie?
He takes his time to assess the existing social reality. He doesn’t act before he understands how things are, where the system is fragile, and hence what might be possible.