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The Situational Awareness Model

Our foundational model comes to us from the work of HIP founder and President, Dr. Philip Zimbardo. It is known as the Situational Awareness Model and was developed by Dr. Zimbardo based on his experiences with the Standard Prison Experiment and as an expert witness in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse trials. The Situational Awareness model contains a set of psychological techniques that individuals can readily learn and put into practical use to better understand, respond to, and prepare for any challenging social situations and influences they might face.

According to the model, in order to more completely and accurately analyze any situation involving human behavior, it is necessary to examine the concurrent impact of variables and forces from three spheres of influence: individuals, situations, and systems. Situational Awareness is the broad term we use that highlights the skills needed in order to understand these multiple influences upon human thinking, feeling, and behavior.

Two different sets of skills contribute to Situational Awareness and each can help individuals to successfully navigate a wide range of potential circumstances they may face. The first set of skills is referred to as the Situational Analysis, a broad but powerful psychological tool that can help people gain insight into the social influences likely to be operating within any situation: past, present, or in the future. The second set of skills is composed of knowledge regarding specific forms of social influence (e.g. conformity, the bystander effect, obedience to authority). The idea is that the more people know about each form of such influence, and the more they practice spotting and resisting them, the less likely they will be to be persuaded by these influences to act against their better judgment during critical moments of decision.