Stanford Prison Experiment by Zimbardo

Stanford Prison Experiment by Zimbardo

What is it?

The Stanford Prison Experiment was a psychological study conducted in 1971 by psychologist Philip Zimbardo, funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research. The experiment, funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, took place at Stanford Stanford University. The experiment aimed to investigate the effects of perceived power and authority on human behavior. Participants were randomly assigned to the roles of "prisoners" or "guards" in a simulated prison environment. The study was meant to last two weeks but was terminated after only six days due to the abusive behavior of the "guards" and the extreme psychological distress experienced by the "prisoners." The experiment highlighted the potential for ordinary individuals to engage in abusive behavior when placed in certain social contexts and has been widely cited in discussions about situational influences on human behavior.

The Stanford Prison Experiment was a study designed to see how normal people would behave when given power over others or when placed in a situation with little power. Imagine a group of college students who volunteered for the experiment. They were randomly split into two groups: one group played the role of prison guards, and the other played the role of prisoners.

The researchers created a fake prison in the basement of a university building. The "guards" were given uniforms, sunglasses, and authority over the "prisoners," while the "prisoners" wore simple clothing and had to follow strict rules.

The experiment was meant to last two weeks, but things quickly got out of hand. The "guards" started to become aggressive and abusive, treating the "prisoners" poorly and humiliating them. The "prisoners," on the other hand, became submissive and showed signs of emotional distress.

The researchers had to stop the experiment after just six days because the situation became too dangerous and harmful for the participants. The study showed that when regular people are put in certain situations, like having power over others, they can behave in surprising and sometimes harmful ways. ...