Prison essay

  1. The Stanford prison experiment was headed by Philip Zimbardo in 1971 and lasted only six days instead of two weeks planned.

2. Zimbardo indented to put participants in the conditions, which reproduced a real prison settings, in order to depersonalize, disorient and deindividualize the participants and get natural reactions and behavior.

3. During the experiment a group of people had the roles of prisoners, while the other group presented guards. The roles were played by volunteers.

4. Zimbardo aimed to measure the degree of social influence on individuals.

5. The experiment was aimed to find out how social environment influences individuals and how individuals act in frames of particular social roles. It was a study of human psychological reactions on imprisonment and authority.

6. After the results of the experiment were published the question of ethnics of putting the subjects through such a stressful experience arose.  One of the points of the critique of experiment contained blame in the psychical damage that the experiment caused to the subjects. Some researches state that it is impossible to make conclusions about social behavior from this experiment because only 24 persons were involved.


7. Zimbardo himself was an active participant of the experiment ”“ he was the prison superintendent and his research assistant was the warden.

8. The experiment had unexpected effects and gave much new information about the influence of the environment on the individuals.

8. Experiment proved that internal regulations are easily dominated by the external orders and people do not feel the responsibilities for their actions ”“ they just follow orders.  9. As soon as the person recognizes some authority, he starts feeling and acting as an instrument that just follows the orders.

10. Zimbardo’s experiment let us find out to which great extent social roles and settings influence our behavior. It took him only two days to depersonalize and deindividualize healthy and morally stable individuals. The results of the experiment give keys to understanding the roots human behavior if we mind settings and social influence.

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