Zimbardo Experiment

1349 Words6 Pages
The Stanford Prison Experiment was a psychological experiment conducted by Philip Zimbardo. Initially expected to last two weeks, it instead lasted a mere six days before coming to an end. The experiment successfully shows that all people, despicable or kind, are capable of truly terrifying things, and also reinforces an already well-known theory, the power of the situation.
Thesis:
Although the Stanford Prison Experiment had been planned to be a lengthy study to uncover what authority did to someone’s mindset, the two week experiment had been cut to six days by Philip Zimbardo and his team due the violent physiological state of the subjects caused by the environment surrounding them. The extent and range of possibilities in experiments today
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Most researchers, including Zimbardo himself, wished to keep the experiment going for the planned two weeks. Others, such as his wife Christina Maslach, felt the need to bring the experiment to an end. After Maslach talked him into it, Zimbardo came to his senses and realized what he had done wrong. After six grueling days for the subjects, the (planned) fourteen day experiment had finally come to a conclusion. Although not all agreed, it was ended due to the inhumane actions of some of the participants, especially that of prisoner #819. The researchers discovered from the experiment that perceived power is quick to make someone feel more powerful than others and that roles are quickly assumed. It is also very possible to argue that rights of the prisoners were compromised. Prisoners received harsh treatments, lost privileges, and were constantly watched by researchers. Thus, their basic rights were compromised by not only the guards, but also by the the researches and spectators who, in a time of need, refused the obvious and glaring choice to help put an end to this…show more content…
Of the multiple laws changed, many were due to the research done in the Stanford Prison Experiment and the way that prisoners and guards conform to these roles in real life. In fact, Zimbardo testified at multiple trials defending both guards and prisoners, among other groups, to bring up the power of the situation theory and other research that he studied in the Stanford Prison Experiment. The Stanford Prison Experiment is such an important lesson for all us to learn from that there has recently been a film adaptation of the experiment. Even law enforcement in many states is required to watch a documentary on the Stanford Prison Experiments in order to show themselves what not to do. Thankfully, America’s prison systems have caught wise and have also been enforcing their rules differently, such as how they treat their prisoners and what force police officers should and should not be able to inflict. However, not all is fine within our prison systems, with crime between police officers and prisoners still at an exceptionally high rate. Not to mention the infamous Iraq prison incident, where several American military units commit atrocities on captured Iraqi prisoners. Thus, it is quite clear that while the Stanford Prison Experiments have taught many important lessons, there are still people and lessons to learn from this groundbreaking
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