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March 24, 2016 | Author: | Posted in social sciences, sociology

Stanford Prison Experiment


The individual shapes society as much as society shapes the individual People play different roles depending on the demands society places upon them while , at the same time , every individual person changes society by his or her unique actions and decisions

In 1971 , Dr . Phillip Zimbardo embarked on an unprecedented psychological experiment that sparked international attention and controversy . The so-called Stanford Prison Experiment was designed to create a psychological analysis of the behavior of both guards and prisoners in a prison situation . Dr . Zimbardo , himself took [banner_entry_middle]

on the role of Superintendent ‘ and participated in the experiment completely . The experiment was prematurely terminated and lasted for only six days . In those six days , both the prisoners and the guards were dehumanized and transformed in persons they entered into this experiment . The participants were all college students who were cleared by the research team to be stable and without any violent tendencies . It would also be interesting to note that when asked for their preference , most of the participants to be a prisoner than a guard . This evidences their lack of aggression before the experiment began . By the time the experiment began , all this would change

The participants were divided randomly . Half were to act as guards while the other half were to act as the prisoners . The guards were not given any clear-cut instructions on how to conduct the prison . All that was asked of them was to keep and discipline in the prison

On the very first day , the guards already took their roles seriously They performed strip-searches on the prisoners and deloused them . The guards would be fully dressed as such and they carried batons with them as weapons . To further distance themselves from the prisoners , the guards were asked to wear sunglasses to avoid any uncomfortable eye contact with the prisoners

The prisoners also took their roles seriously and complied with the s of the guards . They were assigned numbers to replace their names adding to the dehumanization process . The prisoner ‘s hairs were either shaved off or wrapped in a nylon stocking to simulate baldness . They were also clothed in dresses without any underwear , causing them serious discomfort and uneasiness . Lastly , they were ed to wear chains around their ankles to serve as a constant reminder that they were prisoners

All these factors turned the college students into either a person in complete authority or a nameless prisoner . An initial attempt by the prisoners to resist the guards was quelled and was never repeated with the same intensity . The guards would later resent the prisoners and they would become more sadistic in how they treated or punished these prisoners . The guards would force the prisoners to do physical exercise deprive them of food or sleep , have them clean the toilets with their bare hands , and even force them to simulate homosexual acts

The roles would have been so well-absorbed that both the guards and the prisoners forget that this was only… [banner_entry_footer]

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