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Philip G. Zimbardo: The Dangers Of The Stanford Prison Experiment

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In 1971, a social psychologist, Philip G. Zimbardo was interested in finding out whether the brutality reported among guards in American prisons was due to the inhuman personalities of the guards, or had more to do with the prison environment. Zimbardo thought of creating a simulated prison where he could see if it was the prison environment or inhuman personalities of the guards that caused their violence. He put up an ad for any college student, who wanted to make 15 dollars a day during the two week experiment, to stop by and get interviewed for the roles in the experiment. Out of the applicants they randomly picked eleven guards and ten prisoners and started what we now know it as the Stanford Prison Experiment. It ended in six days…show more content…
On one of the official websites of the Stanford Prison Experiment that Zimbardo kept it up to date, shared in his story.
…Prisoner #8612 began suffering from acute emotional disturbance, disorganized thinking, uncontrollable crying, and rage. In spite of all of this, we had already come to think so much like prison authorities that we thought he was trying to "con" us – to fool us into releasing him.
This prisoner just wanted out because he couldn’t handle the psychological and physical abuse. You would think if you wanted out of an experiment then you should be able to walk out without trying to fight and plead your case on why they should release you. Instead of doing a simulated prison, Zimbardo started believing it was a real prison trying to keep all of his prisoners, not because they were bad but because he didn’t want to start over the experiment on a new prisoner. You could argue that Zimbardo was striving to keep the same prisoners to have a better result in his experiment, and by letting him go or any other prisoners go it would destroy his experiment and lose all that money. They ended up releasing prisoner #8612 but he had to suffer for a while before Zimbardo realized the prisoner wasn’t
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He knew it too, but he loved psychology more than he cared about the safety of the participants. Plus, this breakthrough was history making, and he felt like it was good to put the college students through that ordeal for the sake of psychology. Sean shared in his article, “Zimbardo did conduct debriefing sessions [on the prisoners and guards] for several years afterwards and concluded they were no lasting negative effects.” That said I still am strongly agreeing it was unethical even if the participants didn’t suffer any psychological damage in the long run. You can’t treat people like a stray dog especially in a simulated prison that was worse than any prison in the U.S
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