Zimabardo Prison Experiment

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The Prison experiment conducted by Phillip G. Zimabardo in the basement of the psychology department of Stanford University in 1971 was to study the role people played in prison situations (simplypsychology). The aim of this experiment was to determine how quickly people conformed to their roles as guards and prisoners (simplypsychology). Zimbardo’s interest in conducting this experiment was to find out whether reports of brutality within American prison system by guards were the acts of sadistic personality of the guards or prison conditions (simplypsychology). The participants in the experiment were a normal group of college students picked to act as either prisoners or guards in the mock prison, to see what would happen (W8 Lecture 1). The…show more content…
Within a short period of the start of the experiment, the participant started to settle into their role, with the guards adapting to theirs quickly and easily (simplypsychology). The experiment was to last for two weeks, however the behavior of the participants terminated the experiment in six days, because of the guards abusive behavior to the prisoner participants and the stress and anxiety the prisoners began to display as a result (about.com). The prisoners and guards could act as they wanted, which caused the guards to become more aggressive and the prisoners to become more passive and depressed (about.com). Losing sight of the situation, Zimbardo acting as the prison warden and other researchers overlooked the abuse by the guards, until one student participant objected to the condition of the mock prison and the morality of continuing the experiment (about.com). According to Zimbardo and his colleagues, the Stanford Prison Experiment demonstrates the powerful role that the situation can play in human behavior (about.com). Participant put
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