The Stanford Prison Experiment
Psychological studies are relatively new as far as the history of scientific research is concerned. As with anything, the rules for these experiments have evolved and become what they are today only through past circumstances. There are some main experiments in past psychological history, which became a true turning point and reasons for ethical guidelines to be placed. These experiments include the medical atrocities during WWII, the Tuskegee syphilis project, Milgram’s obedience studies, and Zimbardo’s Prison Experiment. Although the participants in Zimbardo’s study were informed of the situation they would have to endure, there was still a significant amount of psychological damage done.
To find the article The mind is a formidable jailer: A Pirandellian prison written by Zimbardo I went to the library at the periodicals desk in the basement. I had originally planned to find a hard copy of the article but the librarians assisted me in finding it online through the libraries database ProQuest instead of PsychINFO. After typing the last name and date of the article it was easy to find. In this article written by Philip G. Zimbardo he explains an experiment he conducted at Stanford University. In the basement of one of the psychology buildings he simulated a mock prison and planned to have the “prisoners” stay for two weeks. Twenty two males who tested as “normal-average” from clinical interviews and personality tests, 10 prisoners and 11 guards were recruited. The prisoners wore smock like dresses without underwear and the guards wore khakis, mirror sunglasses and carried a club, keys and handcuffs. This was all to deindividualize everyone. Each participant quickly fell into the expected “norm” of the role they had been subjected to. The cruelty of the guards towards the prisoners increased exponentially so that many of the prisoners became severely depressed and the anticipated two week experiment ended after six days....
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