Prison Experiment

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Prison Experiment

In 1971, there was extreme experiment conducted in Stanford that placed 24 undergraduate students to play the roles of both prisoners and guards in a mock-prison. In a 2-week trail random students were chosen to be test subjects, in return they got $15 per day. This simulated prison included three six by nine foot prison cells which held three prisoners each and three cots, also other rooms were utilized for the prison guards and warden. For more extreme measures one small space was designated as the solitary confinement room, there also was a prison yard. All of these small rooms created a mock-prison in which the students were observed.

Originally the experiment was supposed to be slated to last fourteen days, but it was stopped after six days due to acts of violence, stress, and anxiety. There were no general rules as to how the prisoner or the guards were to act. But within the few days that the experiment started interactions between the guards and prisoners became extreme. The guards were starting to become more and more hostile with each passing day. They did dehumanizing things like stripping prisoners naked, using the fire extinguisher, or beating them. While the prisoners started to become more and more negative with each passing days, they also became more violent. Causing rebellions or fighting against the guards was just the beginning for them. Not only were the guards and prisoners losing sight of reality but so were the researchers. None of them wanted to stop the experiment; rather they overlooked it and continued to go with it. Later on Philip Zimbardo wrote in his book The Lucifer Effect, "Only a few people were able to resist the situational temptations to yield to power and dominance while maintaining some semblance of morality and decency; obviously I was not among that noble class,", giving the quick change of scenery and amount of power few people were able to control it and use it...
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