Stanford Prison Experiment Essay

1336 words - 6 pages

Stanford Prison Experiment 6The Stanford Prison ExperimentYour NameInstructors NameCourse NameDue DateINTRODUCTIONUnderstanding human beings, their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors has always been a fascination of society. While human beings, as animals, are dependent upon a certain number of biological imperatives; the most basic needs, wants, and desires. Psychology looks not solely at the physical but the psyche of human beings. They seek to understand why some people react differently to differing situations and are some behaviors able to be triggered based on a scenario or created environment. Psychology has always simulated environments in order to gauge people's responses or to see ...view middle of the document...

The participants had to have no previously criminal record, be free of psychological conditions, and no serious medical illnesses. They were paid $15 a day for their time and energy (Cherry 2014). In retrospect many of the participants probably did not feel like that was enough.Initially the experiment was anticipated to last for 14 days. The prisoners were arrested by actual cops and taken through the process of being booked and relocated to their cells. The participants playing guards were given some preliminary training in the field. However, the experiment had to be ended early, after only six days, due to the behaviors of both the prisoners and prison guards (Cherry, 2014). Once the different players were assigned their role in the experiment, which included Zimbardo as the fictitious prison warden, the "role play" could begin. Those who were prisoners began suffer depression, became passive, and even began plotting escape plans. The prisoner guard's behavior was even more shocking. The guards almost immediately began to abuse their power, they mistreated the prisoners, harassed them, devalued them, and treated them both unprofessionally and entirely unethically (Kraus Whitbourne, 2013).The results of the experiment brought up many disturbing points. These people all lost a little bit of their "grip" on reality. Given the opportunity these guards subjugated the prisoners and the prisoners lost their sense of pride and identity. Even Zimbardo, himself, admitted that he knew of the abuses and prisoner complaints, yet during the experiment did little to rectify the problem. Zimbardo felt this verified his idea that pervasive powers can be quite corruptive. The presence of "pathological prisoner syndrome" was detected in most of the prisoners, which guides a prisoner to become entirely submissive, even siding with guards against other prisoners (Kraus Whitbourne, 2013). Very few of the prisoners were able to survive the experiment without giving in to the environment itself. Simply put, the experiment was not concluded, but its proof is incontrovertible. Sometimes, some people, given access to great power and control will become an entirely different person when granted such power. In turn it verified that being treated inhumanly can strip individuals form the sense of self and self-image (Cherry, 2014).The Stanford Prison Experiment has faced a great deal of criticism in the years since it took place. There have been a number of films, television, and novels written on the topic however most contain some creative licensing that may not be reflective of the real experiment. However, the point is that according to the Ethics Code of the American Psychological Association the experiment defies modern ethics and would never be considered today. Many argue the validity of the study. After all Zimbardo used an experiment group made-up of primarily...

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