Accession Number:



Hard Objectives and High Expectations: What Influences the Behavior of Marines

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

USMC Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning Quantico United States

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Charles A. Graner, Jr. received a 10-year prison sentence for his assault, maltreatment, nonverbal conspiracy, indecent acts, and dereliction of duty as a military guard at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in late 2003. Why would an Army Reservistformer Marine Reservist act unethically Was his behavior a response to negative situational forces, such as the daily mortars, multiple prisoner insurrections, and negative or absent leadership, or a reflection of his disposition as an accused bad apple with a history of behavioral problems To understand why Marines might engage in bad behavior, the role of both the situational and dispositional forces at play when Marines face ethical challenges warrants attention. While the means to conclusively demonstrate that any single behavior derives solely from external or internal forces does not exist, from an experimental perspective, social psychologists can at least manipulate a controlled environment and observe behavioral changes as a result of those external manipulations. While social psychologists can, therefore, more easily draw conclusions about external influences on behavior than dispositional ones, evidence for both exists because a single group of subjects never exhibits the same reaction to the same external manipulations.

Subject Categories:

  • Psychology
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

Distribution Statement: