Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment

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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. Researchers set up a mock prison in the basement of the Stanford University psychology building, and they chose 24 of the 70 students that had responded to the newspaper advertisement. Those 24 were chosen because they did not have a criminal background, psychological problems, or special medical conditions. Ex-convicts and prison employees helped to replicate the prison environment to make it as accurate as possible. Laboratories were turned into cells by removing the doors, and a closet was turned into solitary confinement. Everything was videotaped in the “prison”, and there was an intercom system that allowed the researchers to listen to the “prisoners” conversations and allowed them to make announcements. There weren’t any windows, and all clocks were removed. This left the prisoners with nothing to try and decide how much time had passed. When the 24 boys arrived, there were no differences between the college boys. After a flip of a coin, they were assigned to be guards or prisoners. Each “prisoner” was greeted by the warden and told the significance of their crime. The warden told them they were now prisoners, and they were stripped naked and sprayed to make them think the guards believed they were dirty and could infect the prison. They were then put in their uniforms, which was a dress with their prison ID number on it. They were forced to wear a big chain on their right

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