Abstract for: Personal versus Situational Dynamics: Implications of Barry Richmond's Models of Classic Experiments in Social Psychology

There is a long-standing debate in the field of social psychology as to which is the primary determinant of behavior, the situation or system in which people act or the personalities of the role players. Psychologists have long studied this problem with controlled experiments on human subjects, and have now come to a general resolution of the debate. However, the field of psychology still lacks an efficient method for teasing apart the relative contributions of personal and situational variables in applied domains. An alternative to human subjects experiments is to employ system dynamics models of role systems, as was demonstrated by Barry Richmond when he attempted to model two classic experiments in social psychology: the Milgram and Stanford Prison experiments. In this paper, we replicate and discuss Barry Richmond's models to present them to a new audience. In addition, we use the models as a springboard to explore the relationship between social psychology and system dynamics and the potential for useful collaboration between the two fields.