Analysis Of Philip Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment

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Introduction Psychology is an abstract scientific discipline that coherently explores the behaviour of individuals and their mental processes (Whetham, et al., 2003). Past studies have been conducted by psychologists to understand and make comparisons between these behaviours and mental processes that the individuals pose. These studies require test subjects therefore, ethics play a major role in ensuring that the participants are not impacted by the study (Whetham, et al., 2003). Ethics are moral principles that are developed to ensure rights and responsibilities of the psychologist are retained throughout the research design (BBC UK, 2014). Over the last 100 years, ethics have been modified to be conveyed most effectively. Therefore, this…show more content…
The study was conducted by Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University from 14th through to 20th in August 1971, to investigate the causes of conflict between military guards and prisoners. This experiment provided an insight into prison life when Zimbardo grouped twenty-four participants with assigned roles of the prison guard and prisoner. Zimbardo’s experiment shares similarities with the above Milgram’s study as both of them investigate the effect of superiority on obedience. In addition, the guards adapted to their roles by enforcing authoritarian measures and producing extremities that led to the psychological torture of the prisoners. The experiment ended early after only six days due to the intervention of psychologist, Christina Maslach, after witnessing the appalling situation in the Stanford Mock Prison. The significance of this study in the field of psychology was high because it demonstrated the psychological effect of what occurs when moral guidelines are not considered. The positive impact of this research is allowing more psychologists to understand the importance of using ethical frameworks to ensure that the participants are least affected by the study. During this study, many psychological ethics were breached. One ethical principle was ‘the harm to participants’ because they were physically, sexually and psychologically abused during the six days. The…show more content…
According to Jeremy Stevenson, a clinical PhD student in the area of post-traumatic stress at Flinders University (2016), “It will be harder to get ethical approval in the future”. This quote provides evidence that in the future the ethical guidelines will become stricter to maintain responsibilities of the researcher in ensuring that the participant is not harmed, distressed and can withdraw at any point. Another clinical PhD student in the area of social anxiety, Marja Elizabeth (2016) added: “There is a low and high-risk chart that needed to be completed before studies can be done”. This addition provides further enrichment on the modification of ethics in the future. Therefore, in the future, ethics will more likely to become an essential part of conducting any research using animals and humans as test

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