However, the situation and the circumstances in the environment were so powerful that it slowly distorted their personalities. After a few days of the experiment, the guards were too caught up in the events that were taking place and transformed from ordinary, normal young men into sadistic guards. They were incapable to make judgments based on their moral and intellectual knowledge. Same with the prisoners, the overwhelmingly powerful situation they were placed in caused the prisoners to behave sadistically and depressing which later caused signs of extreme stress and emotional breakdowns. All in all, the Stanford Prison Experiment illustrates how authority, unequal balance of power, and the situation that one is placed can all lead to converting ordinary people into committing unconventional acts.
The Zimbardo Prison Study A person actually going insane from participating in a mock prison study! Wow, who would have thought that. In the beginning I think Zimbardo accomplished exactly what he sat out to do; He created a functional prison setting. These boys really had no idea what they had gotten themselves into. In an effort to make this experiment as real as possible, the college students were picked up by a police officer, read their rights and formally arrested, while neighbors watched in disbelief.
For the prisoners, they became depressed, psychologically distraught, dehumanized, and powerless. On the other hand, the guards made the most of their power to maintain prison standards by way of harassment, pornographic behaviors, and mind-bending tactics. In both situations, there was a incident of a rumor of a prison riot with didn’t occurred but aggravated the guards, which lead to more humiliation. The reality of these particular events is the simple fact that what occurred at Abu Ghraib was real, as for the Stanford Prison Experiment was nothing more than a research study on human behavior. When the Stanford Prison Experiment came to it’s end, the guards didn’t receive any form of punishment for their actions.
“The answer to that question is obviously the answer to the question posed by Bernie Goetz and the subway cleanup, which is how much influence does immediate environment have on the way people behave?” (161) in this experiment the subjects really believe that they were really prisoners, and the guards did so too. Gradually the guards became more abusive with their power. So much that the experiment had to be stop. “As the experiment progressed, the guards got systematically crueler and more sadistic. “What we were unprepared for was the intensity of the change and the speed at which it happen,” Zimbardo says” (161) Situation and environment are directly related to the behavior of an individual.
In 1971, a psychologist named Phillip Zimbardo had the idea to hold an experiment that would study the impact of becoming a prisoner or a guard at a prison. Zimbardo’s main focus was to expand on Milgram’s study of situational behaviors. A newspaper ad was put out asking for volunteers to be in a psychological study. Those that responded were picked up at their homes as if they were being arrested. They were completely convinced that they were actually being arrested.
Max Gillies Psychology 103 Ms. Andrews 5/1/10 The Stanford Prison Experiment In 1971 one of the most prestigious schools in the country, a well accomplished professor and selected group of local students began one of the most controversial and thought inspiring case studies in history. Setting out to see how people react when they have either authoritarian positions or submissive ones. The thesis being that the prison, in this case the modified Stanford basement, controls the situation rather than the people inside of it. What the experiment reveled was a disturbing glimpse at the human psyche. The experiment quickly took on a very serious tone.
Revisiting the Stanford Prison Experiment: A Lesson in the Power of Situation In Philip Zimbardo’s article “Revisiting the Stanford Prison Experiment” he deals with change during a certain situations. In the article he goes into why he does the experiment and what inspired it. He does this experiment to prove that good people change when in authority. The exigence in the article is the power of anonymity that unleashes violent behavior. Zimbardo notes “In my own work, I wanted to explore the fictional notation from William Golding’s Lord of the Flies about the power of anonymity to unleash violent behavior” (302).
Those who victimize are able to do so because the process of dehumanization elevates their self concept and desensitizes them to the evil they inflict. In the Stanford prison experiment, they took 21 college students and created a fake prison. In this prison they assigned the roles of prisoners and guards. The prisoners were given symbols of weakness like smocks with stocking caps, ball and chain and numbers instead of names. Where as the guards were given symbols of power like sunglasses,batons and whistles.
WHY ARE WE NOT DOING THIS???? This fact alone sends me into a rage. The label we are putting on these people as hardcore criminals tarnishes their name forever, and it’s not fair. The government is taking good people with a disease and putting them into a system that does not rehabilitate but makes people into animals. Throwing them in the care of incompetent and untrained correctional officers; nowhere in the requirements for a correctional officer is addiction education even mentioned.
Students were randomly assigned to be either guards or prisoners within a mock prison that had been constructed in the Stanford Psychology Department. In contrast to Milgram's studies, the objective was to observe the interaction within and between the two groups in the absence of an obviously malevolent authority. Here, again, the results proved shocking. Such was the abuse meted out to the prisoners by the guards that the study had to be terminated after just 6 days. Zimbardo's conclusion from this was even more alarming than Milgram's.