(“The Stanford…”). The volunteer subjects were casted into two groups, guards and prisoners. The prisoners were searched naked and given dresses to wear. Meanwhile, the guards were given uniforms as well as weaponry such as clubs and were told to do whatever they had to do to maintain order. The Stanford Prison Experiment raises ethical questions because there were many unsound strategies and procedures being used such as: torturing and teasing, violation of rights, and exploitative relationships.
While this alone is interesting, an even more intriguing topic discussed in the book is the fact that not only do those under authority feel obligated to comply with their leader’s ideas and suggestions, but if the authority figures change from good to evil, their follows will most likely change as well. A pure example of the role of authority over decision making is shown in the Stanford Prison Experiment, as discussed in the book. Zimbardo once again offers an in depth look at his experiment and how it completely changed seemingly normal people into horrible monsters. In the Stanford Prison
He started to behave in a way that was cruel and far harsher than the rest of the guards and at the end of the experiment claimed it was because he was conducting his own experiment to see how far they would let him go until they retaliated. The way he behaved portrayed that, even though he might not have come into the experiment with the intention to release that behavior from within, but his actions became a roll that he took too far. A sociocultural component shown in the film were the ways that the volunteer guards interpreted the stigmas around being a prison guard. That they should be cold, strict, and unnervingly verbally abusive. Time upon time in the film, the volunteer guards were verbally abusive of their power with the prisoners.
It can be argued that one of the main reasons for conducting studies that may seem unethical are necessary to dispel idealistic beliefs such as the just-world phenomenon, we may have about the justice system in this case, as well as the influence psychologists may have in correctional facilities. As observed in the Stanford Prison Experiment - a mere simulation involving completely innocent civilians role playing as prisoners and guards, such an intense result prevailed that the experiment had to be prematurely shut down. Furthermore, the experimenter himself got so taken with the experiment that experimenters with a clear and objective view of the experiment realized the distressing effects the experiment was having on the participants.
However, the brutality of the Guards and the suffering of the Prisoners was so intense that it had to be terminated after only six days. During this period, Zimbardo observed the radical change in the personalities of the participants embodying the role of the prison guard, as they changed from ordinary young men to men with a vicious and sadistic character. Zimbardo stated that he was trying to portray what transpired when all of the individuality and dignity was stripped away from a human, and their life was completely controlled. He wanted to demonstrate the dehumanization and loosening of social and moral values that can happen to guards immersed in such a situation (“Stanford Prison Experiment”). This experiment has been used to exemplify the cognitive dissonance theory and the power of authority.
He is a selfish psychologist who just wanted to get a result. He did not realize that he is starting to act like a prison superintendent than a researcher. He only realizes it when Christina Maslach, objected the experiment after she saw that the prisoners were being harassed by the guards. Even if the study has received a lot of ethical criticism, the result still helps Zimbardo to make a conclusion that is helpful for his future endeavor in research. Another thing that makes this experiment beautiful is that it can help the police and military offices to train their people in coping the stress of being imprisoned among the prisoners.
This paper speaks on Philip Zimbardo’s prison study of 1971 and what it demonstrated by explaining the aim, procedure and findings. Zimbardo was inspired to conduct this study in order to satisfy his curiosity on whether the brutality reported among guards in American prisons was due to the sadistic personalities of the guards which would be categorized as a dispositional case, or had more to do with the prison environment which would be a situational case. ‘Situational Case’ meaning behaviour displayed due to environmental factors and ‘Dispositional Case’ meaning behaviour displayed due to an individual’s personality. Saying that to say, prisoners and guards may have personalities which make conflict unavoidable, with prisoners not having
The main aims of the Stanford Prison Experiment were to study the roles that people play in a prison environment and to determine what psychological effects the role of prisoner and guard had on the young students. The study was carried out in a simulated prison in which researchers, led by Philip Zimbardo, observed and recorded the effects of the institution on the students. Zimbardo wanted to find out whether the atrocity reported among guards in American prisons was due to the deranged personalities of the guards or due to the prison environment. (McLeod, 2008) The prison setting in a basement of Stanford University was developed with the guidance of a consultant, it had solitary confinement, no clocks and secret recording operations. Once the prison setting was constructed the experiment was ready to be conducted.
Some believe that the uncultured characters of the inmates are to blame for the situations in prison; they forcefully argued that being in prison is a sign of character failure. 2. Another school of thought put the blame squarely on the feet of the prison authorities. They believe that the sadistic nature of the guards, that because the pleasures derived by the guards from hurting other people, and watch them suffer physically and mentally lead has led to this unchanging cruel life in prison. B.
When given power, it alters one’s perception. Power can be good it just depends on the situation one is put in and what they are doing with it. There are a few people in the world that have the power to do damage. But we can’t let this minority group alter the way we think about humanity. We have good and bad in this world and this experiment opened up that issue.