The Implications of the Stanford Prison Experiment Essay
733 Words3 Pages
The Implications of the Stanford Prison Experiment
In 1971 Dr Philip Zimbardo conducted an experiment in the basement of Stanford University. This involved imprisoning nine volunteers in a mock up of Stanford prison, which was policed by nine guards (more volunteers). These guards had complete control over the prisoners. They could do anything to the prisoners, but use physical violence. The subjects were all students applying for summer jobs to get some money. To make it a fair test, the subjects were made to take psychological tests to make sure they were mentally fit.
On the first day, the prisoner subjects were picked up by a panda car and arrested on a mass crackdown on violations of penal…show more content…
It showed that when given power, many will abuse it. This is very useful as we can apply these lessons to a real life situation, which could save thousands of people in a real prison. A conclusion of the experiment is that if you put good people in an evil and unfair place they will become evil. It also makes us conscious of what people are capable of whatever you think of them. The guards acted the worst in the middle of the night it is suggested that this is because the believed they were not being watched.
It has been asked if what was learnt was worth the "sacrifice" of the people involved? I simply think it was worth the sacrifice. The people involved may have suffered mental anguish due to this experiment but they will die, and other people can take their place: but the knowledge gained will not be forgotten so easily. Also I think it is wrong to simply blame the experiment; there is nothing wrong with putting people in a false prison being controlled by other people. What was wrong was the evil the people in control exerted on the prisoners.
The BBC has repeated the experiment, which some see as wrong. The repeat of the experiment has been "improved" by adding several safe guards to protect the prisoners from the guards. However these
Critique of The Stanford Prison Experiment Essay
757 Words4 Pages
Critique of The Stanford Prison Experiment
The Stanford Prison Experiment of 1973 raises troubling questions about the ability of individuals to exist repressive or obedient roles, if the social setting requires these roles. Philip K. Zimbardo, professor of Psychology at Stanford University, began researching how prisoners and guards assume submissive and authoritarian roles. He set out to do this by placing advertisements in a local newspaper, stating that male college students would be needed for a study of prison life paying fifteen dollars per day for one to two days. Of the seventy-five responses, twenty-one were selected, half of them as "guards" (Zimbardo p. 364) and the other half as "prisoners." (Zimbardo p. 364) Philip…show more content…
In the mock prison, inverse psychological relationships developed between prisoners and guards. Prisoners began to feel that there was no way to beat the system. They felt that it is better to do nothing, except what the guards told them. They didn't want, act, or feel anything so they wouldn't get in trouble. Guards, on the other hand, assumed authority roles to control the prisoners and keep the prison in order. Some of the guards reacted extremely, and behaved with hostility and cruelty towards the prisoners. Others, however, were kinder, and occasionally did favors for the prisoners and didn't punish them as much. On the morning of the second day of the experiment, the prisoners broke out in a rebellion. They barricaded themselves in their cells by pushing their cots up against the cell doors; they also proceeded to curse and jeer at the prison guards. The guards regained control of the prison by spraying fire extinguishers on the prisoners and stripping them of their clothing. The guards also forced the leaders of the riot into solitary confinement. Following the riot, the prisoners were more compliant to the rules the guards laid out for them. There was never another united uprising by the prisoners against their authority figures, the guards. After the prisoners had accepted and