Power

Topics: Stanford prison experiment / Pages: 4 (785 words) / Published: Jul 27th, 2013
Power has the potential to change the way we behave and the pattern in which we think. Especially found in leaders, positions of power allow for one person to represent a collection of people, ideas, or beliefs. In some cases power is the tool that leaders need to push their group to thrive, yet in others it is the poison that consumes leaders and causes the led group to crumble. The difference lies in morals, ethics, and standards. Power must be balanced by a set of moral and ethical standards that if present will cause synchronicity and if absent will cause addiction laced with denial.
In 1971, psychologist Philip Zimbardo set out to test the nature of roles and the power associated with specific roles of authority and subordination. With the assistance of his colleagues Zimbardo set up a mock prison in the psychology building of Stanford University, in which he assigned 24 undergraduate students to the role of either Prison Guard or Prisoner. As a means of extrinsic motivation, fifteen dollars per day were given to each volunteer who agreed to partake in the experiment. It was settled that the students would be randomly assigned to the different roles, and planned that the experiment would last two weeks. Hidden cameras were used to record the experiment.

The prisoners were locked in six by nine foot cells, each cell holding three prisoners. They were to stay locked in the cells for all 24 hours of each day, isolated from any friends or family. The guards worked in teams of three, for eight hour shifts, and were permitted to leave the prison after their shift to return home. The prison warden had no specific parameters to be confined to. There were two smaller rooms that served as solitary confinement and the prison yard. With these simple rules and this basic setting established, the experiment gave staggering insight on how human nature, roles, and power tangle together.

Contrary to the two-week plan, Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment only

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