A Critical Response Essay On “Revising The Stanfor

1146 WordsApr 17, 20125 Pages
A Critical Response Essay on “Revising the Stanford Prison Experiment: A Lesson in the Power of Situation.” Krystal Watkins Freshman Composition 1 March 26, 2012 In Philip Zimbardo’s Revising The Stanford Prison Experiment: A Lesson in The Power of Situation, published in The Chronicle of Higher Education on March 30, 2007, he writes about Stanley Milgram’s 1971 prison experiment at Stanford University. Zimbardo argues that an individual’s situation can overwhelm their moral standards. The author opens by giving a history of psychological studies. These studies give Stanley Milgram the idea to study “the direct confrontation of good versus evil” (Zimbardo 302). Milgram then decides to set up an experiment in which he creates a “situation in a controlled experimental setting” (Zimbardo 303). In the experiment, there are twenty-four, healthy, participants who will be paid fifteen dollars a day to participate. Next, the author provides us the details of the experiment and begins to share his findings as the experiment is in progress. He tells that the prisoners took a day to adjust to their environment and how they quickly became threatening to the authority figure, which are the guards. He goes into detail of the physical, sexual, as well as psychological torment endured by the prisoners which ultimately leads to the early termination of the experiment. Zimbardo then tells of the breakdown of some of the prisoners, which leads to their early release. He gives an outsiders perspective of the horrid torment. He then shares how Milgram too had been altered morally by the situation. Milgram had to terminate the expected two week experiment after six days due to the mental and physical abuse of the prisoners by the guards. Zimbardo then compares the torment experienced during the experiment to present day Iraq’s Abu Gharib prison to show the experiment’s current

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