Philip G. Zimbardo was born in 1933 in New York City. He completed his BA with triple psychology, sociology and anthropology at Brooklyn College. He completed his PhD in psychology in 1959 at Yale University. Zimbardo has taught in many schools including his previous school, Yale from 1959 to 1960. He eventually joined the Psychology faculty at Stanford University in 1968.
Zimbardos Experiment was designed to discover how readily people would conform to the roles of guard and prisoner in a role-playing exercise that simulated being in prison. He wanted to discover whether guards in American prisons had sadistic qualities or whether it was the role and environment that impacted their behaviour. In order to discover which hypothesis was true, situational or dispositional, Zimbardo had the basement of the Stanford University psychology building converted into a mock prison. He advertised for people to play the roles of prisoners and guards for two weeks. All applicants were interviewed to eliminate any candidates with psychological or physical problems, or a history or crime or drug abuse. After this selection process, 24 male college students were paid $15 per day to take part in his experiment.
The roles were randomly assigned to each person, either being prisoner or the guard. There were 2 reserves and 1 dropped out, leaving 10 prisoners and 11 guards. Groups of 3 guards switched after 8 hour shifts, and each cell housed 3 prisoners. There was also a solitary confinement space for any prisoner that behaved badly. The experiment was kept as close to reality as was possible.
The prisoners were first arrested in their own home and taken back to the police station where they were fingerprinted,...
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...mation gained from the participants must be kept anonymous unless full consent is given, no names can be used in a report of the study.
Any participant is able to leave the investigation at any point if they feel uncomfortable, along with withdrawing their data. They must be informed of this at the start of the study and they should not be pressured into continuing if they do feel uncomfortable.
I feel that all of these apply to Zimbardo’s Stanford prison experiment. All participants should have been able to withdraw from the experiment, everyone had given their full consent, all information given has been kept confidential, no deception was necessary for the experiment to take place and all participants were debriefed afterwards. Also, all participants were protected from physical harm, however they were exposed to mental harm that could not have been prevented.
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