Essay On The Stanford Prison Experiment

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The experiment is related closely to the Stanford Prison and Milgram Experiments, in that it tries to show how perfectly normal human beings can be pressured into unusual behavior by authority figures, or by the consensus of opinion around them. For the experiment, eight subjects were seated around a table, with the seating plan carefully constructed to prevent any suspicion. Only one participant was actually a genuine subject for the experiment, the rest being confederates, carefully tutored to give certain pre-selected responses. Careful experimental construction placed a varying amount of peer pressure on the individual test subject. Asch Experiment - Figure 1 The experiment was simple in its construction; each participant, in turn,…show more content…
At least 75% of the subjects gave the wrong answer to at least one question, although experimental error may have had some influence on this figure. There was no doubt, however, that peer pressure can cause conformity. It was debated whether this is because people disbelieve the evidence of their own eyes or if it was just compliance, that people hide their opinions. Follow ups to the Asch Experiment showed that the number of dissenting voices made a difference to the results, as did the forcefulness of the confederates. One incorrect confederate made little difference to the answers, but the influence steadily increased if two or three people disagreed. The figures did not change much after this point; more confederates made little difference. The number of people in the group also made a difference; the influence of dissenting voices leveled off for groups of more than six or seven people. The experiments also showed that, even if only one other participant disagreed with the confederates, the subject was more likely to resist peer pressure; it appears to be more difficult to resist the majority if
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