The Stanford Prison experiment, in my opinion is a remarkable experiment . It isn’t ethical in the least but the results that have emerged have exceeded even what Mr.Zimbardo set out to do. The aim of seeing whether people change their basic personalities , moralities , values when subjected to an external hostile environment has been successfully proven. My honest opinion is that , at that time in 1971 , it was rational enough to think about going out of the way to get an answer to a particular question . If Mr.Zimbardo were to conduct this experiment in modern day 2012 , it would have never left the drawing board. The acceptance of the public to such an experiment played a large part in it being so famous (right and wrong reasons). At that time many psychologists were on the “trend” of human experimentation , for eg – with the Milgram experiment and so on. It seemed fair enough to plot out the Stanford Prison Experiment. The brief of the entire experiment was pretty straightforward . There were going to be people who were going to be Prisoners and Guards. These people were not approached , they came to Mr.Zimbardo in response to his advertisement in the newspaper along with a fee of $15 a day. The experiment was expected to last for 14 days and the behavior of the guards and the prisoners was to be observed. Mr.Zimbardo himself played the role of the Jail Superintendent. This all took place at Stanford University itself.
I think that it’s a fair arrangement because the people knew what they were getting into. But how they felt when they got out was the real question. The experiment really showed that when people get power , they misuse it. The guards for example were briefed to only maintain order in the jail and follow the rules. However , the fact that they made the prisoners strip , do silly things , wake them up at midnight , disorient them etc shows that people , when given power will instinctively seek to misuse it. Especially if its authority and power...
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