i am Essay

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1: ABSTRACT The following report represents an investigation of the phenomenon of obedience in prison environments and the psychological consequences of obedience for the guards and prisoners who inhabit these environments. The report is based principally upon the results of Stanley Milgram’s classic ‘Obedience Experiment’ of 1961, as well as Philip Zimbardo’s ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’ and Solomon Asch’s ‘Conformity Experiment’. The hypothesis of this report is that: when, in a prison environment, when one is commanded to commit acts that contradict one’s conscience, that one will obey this command rather than one’s own conscience. The method for this experiment involved a setting up an experiment where random members of the general public are tested to measure the extent to which they will apply electric shocks to prisoners, when ordered to do so by scientists and prison wardens. The results of the experiment show that the hypothesis is proved correct and that prisoners show very high levels of obedience, above and over their consciences, when under direct instruction. Still, when an emotional bond is made between guard and prisoner, the willingness of the guard to inflict pain and torture is much reduced. 2: INTRODUCTION The three classic psychological experiments concerning obedience and prison environments are those of Milgram (1961), Zimbardo (1971) and Asch (1951). The experiment that forms the main base of this report is that held by Milgram in 1961. This experiment conducted at Yale University, and first published in an article named Behavioural Study of Obedience in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology (and in Milgram’s 1974 book Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View) sought to produce empirical evidence for the readiness of a volunteer to be obedient to an authority who required that volunteer to perform an act that went against the

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