The Stanford Prison Experiment: A Journey Into Authoritarian Leadership Over the years, scientists, psychologists, and doctors have used social experiments to further their understanding of our surroundings. Social experiments are studies of the human mind and psyche through various environments. In this case, a social experiment called the Stanford Prison Experiment is what opened new doors for the comprehension of human behavior, how we act when we are in power, as well as offered a glimpse into the flaws in our legal system. This experiment was conducted in 1971 in Palo Alto, California. As stated in the name of the actual experiment, it was a simulation of how it was like to be imprisoned. The participants were 24 college students. The …show more content…
While the test subjects did in fact consent to the experiment via documents, they developed this false understanding through the experiment that they could not leave at any time, that “there was no way out”. During this time period, there were no existing laws that this experiment violated but it did pave the way for several to be introduced. For example, in the consent form it stated that the prisoners would not experience physical harm, but several days later they were brutally beaten by the guards. A few scenarios such as this one would be considered illegal with today’s legal system. One law that was created after this required federal prisons to separate minors awaiting trial from adults to avoid them suffering from abuse. Although many argue this experiment was unethical, Zimbardo actually changed how we perceive laws and superiority in the prison setting. An abundance of laws were introduced into federal legislation that helped advocate for people awaiting trial and even those convicted of a …show more content…
It showed how normal civilians acted when they were given authority over others. Even the most cordial, intelligent people can take on an evil, machiavellianistic nature when introduced to a dominant role in an individualized setting. This experiment taught psychologists so many things about human behavior and the prison system. It is an event that is taught in classrooms all over the world. While some people question the ethics of the experiment, it paved the way for more understanding as well as the reform of psychological practices
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During the fall of 1973, Phillip Zimbardo conducted his famous Stanford Prison Study where he recruited 24 undergraduate students to either become prisoners or guards in his experimental prison: the “Stanford County Jail". The recreation of this prison was conducted to study how an individual’s status and/or label changed depending on the social role they had to fulfill. The participants included 12 guards and 12 prisoners, each given proper uniform to wear, such as providing the prisoners with a smock that contained ID numbers on both sides and a chain with a heavy ball around their ankle. Both groups were also given detailed instructions on the requirements they had to complete in order for the individual to assimilate to their character.
Situational effects and personality come into conflict when discussing behavior. Personality is someone’s “usual pattern of behavior, feelings, and thoughts” (Twenge, 2017, p.20). It remains constant throughout different situations, but some situations can be stressful enough to make a person act out of character. The transition between a person’s normal personality and behavior to a more evil, sinister behavior fascinates a man named Philip Zimbardo, who conducted the infamous Zimbardo Prison Experiment, or Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE). Zimbardo is an American psychologist at Stanford University and the mastermind behind the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment (The Story).
He continues with observations of the first day of testing by quoting certain guard’s conversations with each other and prisoners. Proceeding, Zimbardo points out a riot initiated by the prisoners that was quickly snuffed out by the guards. He also emphasizes the point, “We were forced to release prisoner 8612 because of extreme depression…” Following the quote Zimbardo describes diary entries by one guard which explain a dramatic shift in mood in the guards. Zimbardo finishes his article with reasoning behind early termination of the experiment and expressed his regret of running the experiment.
The prisoners lost their identity. They became a number. The Stanford Prison Experiment displayed a sense of urgency to evaluate our ability to “run with the crowd” or remain true to your ethical beliefs. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was conducted on the effects of syphilis when it remains untreated.
One of the most infamous experiments conducted in the history of psychology was the Stanford Prison Experiment. The main objective of this experiment was to see what effects would occur when a psychological experiment into human nature was performed. As I read through the material provided, I noticed that my thoughts on the matter were similar to many; that it was a complete failure as a scientific research project. However, his findings did provide us with something much more important that is still being talked about today; insight into human psychology and social behavior.
The ¨Stanford Prison Experiment¨ was a breakdown of the morals and rules on how people would act toward one another due to their environment, rather than how they should. The study had created more questions than answers, specifically about the darkness and lack of moral standards that inhabits the human soul. It showed that methodical abuse and denial of human rights is nothing new in prison facilities. The novel Lord of the Flies shows how easily people become dangerous depending on their situation, and how easily humans become savages when there are no definite rules. Lord of the Flies and ¨The Stanford Prison Experiment¨ have many similarities in the way they both show the effects that occur when you lose all moral standards, and lack of rules.
This experiment was conducted in Stanford University by Dr. Zimbardo. During this two week long session, Dr. Zimbardo had several volunteers agree to act as prisoners and as prison guards. The prisoners were told to wait in their houses while the guards were to set up the mock prison, a tactic used by Dr. Zimbardo to make them fit into their roles more. The official police apprehended the students assigned to the role of prisoner from their homes, took mug shots, fingerprinted them, and gave them dirty prison uniforms. The guards were given clean guard uniforms, sunglasses, and billy clubs borrowed from the police.
In Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s The Stanford Prison Experiment, 20 college aged boys are selected to play different roles in a simulated prison located within Stanford. This experiment was thought of and carried out by Philip Zimbardo, a professor of psychology. The boys, who were also students at Stanford, were randomly selected to be a guard or a prisoner. The prisoners were taken by real police officers to the Stanford jail. When the experiment started, most of the prisoners thought of the situation as it was intended to be, an experiment.
In summary, the purpose of the Stanford Prison Experiment was supposed to demonstrate that powerful situational forces, much like Abu Ghraib, could over-ride individual dispositions and choices, leading good people to do bad things simply because of the role they found themselves
Normal People Behaving Evil The Stanford Prison Experiment was an experiment to see if normal people would change their behavior in a role-play as a prisoner or a prison guard. The experiment was conducted by Dr.Philip Zimbardo in 1973 at Stanford University that caused numerous amount of trauma to prisoners by prison guards in their role-playing position which forced Dr. Zimbardo to officially terminate the experiment six days after it was introduced. Due to the cruel aggressive behaviors from the guards, the experiment led to a question, "Do "normal" people have the capability of behaving badly?" The answer to that question is that most likely an individual who behave normally will have the capability of expressing evil behavior due to the environment that they are surrounded.
The experiment mainly focused on the participants appearance, for example prisoners were dressed into prison clothes for feeling more demeaned and humiliated, however at the same time guards were dressed into like real guards with sunglasses for appearing more detached and less humane. The results were terrifying because the guards took the matter seriously and sometimes harassed the prisoners with the help pf physical punishment, or even
Unit 1 Written Assignment Literature Review of article on Standard Prison Experiment Introduction This article concerns the Stanford Prison experiment carried out in 1971 at Stanford University. The experiment commenced on August 14, and was stopped after only six days. It is one of the most noted psychological experiments on authority versus subordinates. The studies which emerged from this have been of interest to those in prison and military fields due to its focus on the psychology associated with authority.