Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment
Introduction to Psychology: 31675
14 March 2013
In the field of psychology, experiments are an essential part of the study. Guidelines have been fenced around the experiments to protect the subjects being tested. Unethical experiments had to take place in order for these guidelines to be placed. In 1971, Psychologist Philip Zimbardo conducted an experiment that changed the future of psychology and how it is practiced today, The Stanford Experiment. According to Kendra Cherry, author of an article The Stanford Experiment, researchers asked how subjects would react when placed in a prison environment.
The experiment took place in the basement of the Psychology department in Stanford University and selected 24 undergraduate students out of 70 volunteers due to their lack of psychological issues and had no criminal record. Zimbardo paid each of the 24 participants 15 dollars a day in a span of one to two weeks. The 24 volunteers were randomly assigned to play a role as either a guard or a prisoner. The cell was made up of three prison cells, each one holding three mock prisoners. The guards chosen had to work in an eight hour shift alongside two other participants. The guards chosen have their own cell to themselves and one small room for solitary confinement. Kendra Cherry stated in her article that, “According to Zimbardo and his colleagues, the Stanford Prison Experiment demonstrates the powerful role that the situation can play in human behavior” (Cherry). The volunteers for this experiments took on their role almost instantaneously.
Prior to the experiment, the subjects selected to play the prisoners were arrested from their home, unwarned, and taken to the mock prison. According to Saul Mcleod, author of Zimbardos: Prison Experiment, “Here they were treated like every other criminal. They were fingerprinted, photographed and ‘booked’. Then they were blindfolded and...