Zimbardo Stanford Prison Experiment

Good Essays
As I was choosing which 8 point project to do, a friend in the class suggested researching Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment. Prior to this assignment, I actually had not heard about this experiment. After researching this happening, and reading the full story, as written by Dr. Zimbardo, I, in all honesty, immediately began to feel ill. How could people be so horrible to one another? How could the people portraying the guards live with themselves after treating the prisoners so poorly? There was so much that happened here that was so, so wrong, all because of power. In this paper, I will be explaining why this experiment could not, and should not, be conducted today. The first major point in the ethical rules of experimentation…show more content…
Because of the lack of specific guidelines, these boys (the “prisoners”) were treated however the “guards” felt like treating them, which happened to be completely horrific due to the enormous amount of power appointed to them. Psychologists now have specific rules that must be carried out when experimenting, many of which correlate with treatment of people during an experiment. For one, the researcher is not allowed to harm the subject. They must do everything in their power to eliminate stress and harm of any sort. The people involved in the prison experiment were not required to do that, in any way, shape, or form. The “guards” could basically do whatever they wanted to the “prisoners”, which, in turn, created great emotional damage, surely scarring them for life. It was, overall, extensively emotionally and psychologically damaging, which is a prime example as to why such an experiment could not be executed in today’s…show more content…
There are too many contraventions to the code of ethics that are set up for present day experimentation. As mentioned earlier, upon reading this story, I was completely disgusted. I was specifically outraged at the man who conducted this experiment; How could he do this to those innocent people? How could he let this happen? So, I did some additional research, because this story had literally upset me to the point of tears. I came across his TED talk. I am not sure if you have watched Philip Zimbardo’s TED talk, but it was very insightful, and extremely disturbing. However, after viewing the video, I understood his purpose behind this experiment; can good people be transformed to evil? According to social psychologists, there are primarily three specific ways people can, essentially, “turn to the dark side”: dispositional, situational, and Zimbardo’s discovery, systemic. Through this experiment, Zimbardo observed how the system of the jail affected the participants: for the “guards” there really wasn’t a system. Their power was unlimited; they had no boundaries. Because of this, they started doing small, evil acts, which quickly escalated to larger-scale acts of near malice. For the “prisoners”, the system was unsteadily and randomly created and reliant upon the “guards”, creating a very unhealthy system
Get Access