Stanford Prison Experiment Essay

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09/07/2012 Stanford Prison Experiment Zimbardo’s prisoner-guard experiment is where a group of young men were rounded up by the police department and taken to a mock jail in Stanford university (Alexander, 2001). They were treated exactly like real prisoners would have been treated: sprayed for lice, strip searched and locked up with chains round their ankles (Alexander, 2001). There were men who were chosen to play the guards and they were given the authority to dictate 24-hours a day rules and soon turned to humiliating the prisoners to break their will (Alexander, 2001). “‘In a few days, the role dominated the person,’ Zimbardo -- now president-elect of the American Psychological Association -- recalled. ‘They became guards and prisoners.’ So disturbing was the transformation that Zimbardo ordered the experiment abruptly ended,” (Alexander, 2001). The way someone can change depending on what position they are put in is astounding, especially in the amount of time that this experiment. According to Zimbardo, in a matter of days the guards were already harassing and trying to break the wills of the prisoners (Alexander, 2001), and the prisoners were barricading themselves within their cells (Zimbardo, 2012). One might argue that the guards and prisoners were just role playing to fit the scenario, but you cannot deny the fact that many of the student participants had symptoms of a mental breakdown (Alexander, 2001). While none of the participants suffered long term harm, the standards for using human subjects in research would not authorize an experiment such as this one (Alexander, 2001). The Stanford prisoner experiment, according to Zimbardo was to see the nature of human nature (2012). However, within Zimbardo’s experiment, from what I have read, it seems that for the 6 days this experiment took place, the participants on either end were in harms

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