Prison Experiment Review

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The Stanford Prisoner Experiment Review
PSYC 1111 – University of the People The Stanford Prison Experiment was an infamous psychological experiment conducted in the early 1970s by Dr. Philip Zimbardo. He sought to find an explanation for the dehumanizing, deplorable conditions found in many prisons. Psychological theories at the time were based on a dispositional hypothesis in which it was the natural disposition of the guards and prisoners from before they even entered the environment that lead to the behaviours that caused these poor conditions. This experiment was designed to challenge these theories by removing the possible effects of disposition while emulating as closely as possible all other aspects of a prison environment.
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Aspects such as anonymization, loss of identity, establishment of roles and authoritative hierarchies, dependency relationships, emasculation, and arbitrary control may all have a part to play in creating the hostile environments in prisons. This experiment has implications in the regulation of prisons and in achieving humane treatment of prisoners and reducing recidivism rates for criminals. It opened up new topics for exploration within the area of social…show more content…
The results are still relevant today where many prisons still have dehumanizing conditions and high re-entry rates. Personally the outcome of the Stanford Prison Experiment made the event of Abu Ghraib all the more shocking since they bear striking similarity and reveal that as a society we still have not learned all that can be learned from this experiment.

Haney, C., Banks, W.C. & Zimbardo, P.G. (1973). A study of prisoners and guards in a simulated prison. Naval Research Review, 30, 4-17.
Haney, C. (Interviewer) & Heroic Imagination TV (Interviewee). (2011). The Stanford Prison Experiment. Retrieved from
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