Stanford Prison Experiment Essay

1363 Words6 Pages
Professor Philip G. Zimbardo’s (1971) Stanford Prison Experiment conducted at Stanford University, when examined, forces the examiner to explore and critically think about human behavior and human rights, the effects that the prison environment has on people, the weight of good versus evil, and the blurred lines between reality and illusion, and the ethical responsibility of laymen and experts. This 2 week experiment focused on a group of male college students out of the Palo Alto, California area who responded to a local newspaper ad that sought individuals who wanted to be a part of a study of the mental and emotional impact of prison life on both sides of the bars. Under the direct consultation of a former prisoner and some of his associates…show more content…
The students did not receive any special instructions on how to be prison guards or inmates and were left to their own devices. Now in a position of authority as prison guards, the young men governed over those in the role of prisoner in the way that they saw fit. Aside from guard and prison attire, and the make shift prison itself, both groups were left to their basic instincts and with that, human nature took its course. For example, according to Zimbardo, the first day both the guards and the prisoners were not completely into their rolls, for example, the prisoners were still trying to maintain their individuality and independence, thus propelling a prisoner rebellion. They took off their stocking caps, torn off their prison id numbers and barricaded themselves in their cells and verbally abused the guards, and the guards were not sure how to assert their authority, however, the rebellion catapulted the guards into their rolls of authority. For instance, the guards decided to fight fire with fire, about the guards, Zimbardo stated that, “They got a fire extinguisher which shot a stream of skin-chilling carbon dioxide, and they forced the prisoners away from the doors” (Slide 6 of 8). To use a fire extinguisher on humans for any reason is an extreme use of force and abuse of power. Good and evil quickly…show more content…
To the contrary, I know what it is to fall deeply into a role because it used to happen to me all the time when I studied the art of acting. Yes, on the set, scenes have become so intense that I have lost myself in the role, but that’s acting, and what we’re discussing here is an experimental psychological research study that occurred in real life, and this experiment clearly took matters way too far and Zimbardo and his team should have been more
Open Document