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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT Tanya Antero 18/02/2015 Assignment on the Stanford Prison Experiment Background The Stanford Prison Study was conducted by Robert Zimbardo in 1971. The study wanted to discover how people would react in different situations in states of power or weakness. This experiment used the example of a prison as the guards were the one with power and the prisoners were the ones who had no power. 21 people were put in a prison like stimulation to put this study to the test. Unfortunately the study only lasted 6 days due to intense psychological issues. Aim To see how people would react in states of power and weakness through the perspective of a prison guard or prisoner. It also was to understand the forming of norms and social beliefs. Participants The participants were chosen through random sampling. They all required the same characteristics and were put into two groups, prisoners and guards. 21 male students out of 75 volunteers were chosen. They were required to have no medical or psychological issues, no criminal background and were also paid $15 a day for participating in the experiment. Procedure - A stimulated prison was built at the basement of Stanford University.- 24 volunteers were chosen at random out of 71 and put into groups Guards or Prisoners. Prisoners were arrested from home for a more realistic effect.- Prisoners stayed at the cells 24 hours a day while guards have eight hour shifts distributed between them.- Behaviours were observed through hidden cameras and microphones. Findings Through the cameras Zimbardo observed that the guards became more abusive and sadistic, while the prisoners became extremely stressed, anxious and showed severesigns of depression. The interactions observed were considered hostile or dehumanising. Over the course of five days, five prisoners were set free from the experiment as theyshowed signs of acute anxiety. When the experiment ended the guards were asked if they felt like they wanted to quit the experiment most guards said no but several confessed that they were having thoughts of stopping. Conclusions Zimbardo stated that the experiment shows how power in a situation can play in human behaviour. Because the guards had power they began to act in aggressive ways in their everyday lives or in other situations. The prisoners however were placed in a position of weakness making them become passive, anxious and depressed. This experiment shows that people with more power in most situations would likely be more aggressive and sadistic while people who are more vulnerable will fear the ones with more power and abide by anything they say. Critisisms - This experiment was cited as an unethical experiment.- It lacked generalisability in many factors. The experiment lacked diversity meaning it would be hard for other races to relate to the experiment- The study did not perfectly recreate the prison setting or the life inside a prison.
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