Lucifer Effect Essay

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Sabrina Velez Police & the Community The Lucifer Effect In 1971, psychologist Philip Zimbardo created an experiment that explored the impacts of becoming a prisoner or prison guard; basically someone with authority did to people. Zimbardo was interested in finding out how participants react when placed in a simulated prison environment. The researchers set up a simulated prison in the basement of Stanford University’s psychology building, and then recruited 24 undergraduate students to play the roles of both prisoners and guards. All participants had no criminal background, no psychological issues or medical conditions. They participated for a two-week period with a $15 a day initiative. The simulated prison included three six by nine prison cells. Each cell contained three prisoners and three cots. Across the hall were rooms for the prison guards and warden. They had a room for solitary confinement and a area designated as the prison yard. The participated were randomly assigned to either a prison group or guard group. Prisoners were instructed to remain in the mock prison for 24 hours a day but guards were instructed to work 8-hour shifts then return home until their next shift. Researchers used hidden cameras and microphones to observe the behaviors of the prisoners and guards. Philip Zimbardo actually played the role of the warden and looked over the behavior inside the prison. The Stanford experiment was originally supposed to last for 14 days but had to be cut short due to what was occurring inside the mock prison. The guards became abusive and the prisoners began experiencing stress and anxiety. The guards and prisoners were never instructed in how to behave and were left with that freedom. Instead of behaving in a positive manner the guards started to become aggressive and abusive towards prisoners and the prisoners started to become passive
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