Essay on Psychological Effects Of A Prisoner And Guard Scenario

Essay on Psychological Effects Of A Prisoner And Guard Scenario

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The Stanford Prison Experiment was a study put together by Phillip Zambardo to test the psychological effects of a prisoner and guard scenario in a mock prison setting. The experiment lasted approximately fourteen days and was comprised of twenty-four male students, all of whom were picked at random to take part in the experiment. Each individual was also randomly given the role of either guard or prisoner. The mock prisoners were subjugated to psychological abuse, harsh authoritarian rule by the guards, and intense living conditions to ensure maximum results were met. Due to the intense amount of stress brought on from the ordeal, a few prisoners were unable to continue and the experiment concluded prematurely. Everything about this observation was sadistic and inhumane, but it did provide the necessary information to help the field of psychology. Environment was a cogent factor for the men becoming violent and power-hungry.
Although the experiment was brief, it gave a great deal of insight into how environment can abruptly affect the psychological well-being of an individual. Zimbardo states, “Would those good people, put in that bad, evil place—would their goodness triumph?” (Cherry). Everyone has darkness within them and all it takes is a little push to show what a person may be truly capable of. Every person picked for this experiment was not predominately “evil” to begin with. There was no real reason for them being chosen, other than space was needed to be filled. I found Zimbardo’s experiment to be very intriguing; however, the environment in which they were forced into made the men into monsters and cowards. The only good to come from this science project was the insight into how we become the person we depict ourselves t...

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...Good, honest men were turned into self entitled drones. Although it had many negative features, the experiment proved to be detrimental to the psychological community. Was it necessary to take it as far as these men did just for science? Much sacrifice was made during the course of the trial; nevertheless, it confirmed under the right circumstances any man can be broken or created. Given the right mixture of situation and circumstance, good men were molded into something much different. Strong men were broken down into a shadow of their former self. As the prominent poet John Milton puts it, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” We are the defining factor of our metamorphosis, but when the will is broken we lose the ability to keep ourselves in control. In the end, we are all good apples, just sitting in a bad barrel.

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