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History of Stanford Prison Experiment

Updated April 26, 2022
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History of Stanford Prison Experiment essay

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A great Russian novelist named Dostovesky spent four years in Siberian.

Prison. His time there led him to be deeply optimistic about the futures of mankind, simply because he believes that a man who can survive the horrors of prison, could be a person who can survive anything. There is evidence that prisons do not really rehabilitate or act as a deterrent for future crimes. Studies have been made to show that they aren’t helping prisoners change their ways, and 75% of the prisoners were sent back to prison. These prisons are continuing to fail everyone, the prisoners, the tax-payers, and the economy. We have passed through periods where the physical conditions in prisons have somewhat improved, but not much has changed in the century that has gone by since Dostovesky’s experience in prison. The famous study known as the Stanford Prison Experiment set the hypothesis that the abusive behavior seen in prison was caused by the personality traits of guards and prisoners.

Logic: The ideology that the abuse is caused by the traits of prisoners and guards, is based on the “nature” of those people. This first idea supports the ideas that the nature of the two groups is what causes abuse. There is an argument that the guards are sadistic, uneducated and insensitive people that bring on the despicable conditions, violence, brutality and abuse in the prisons.This idea refers to the “guard mentality” and is A unique syndrome filled with negative traits that they bring into the situation to help the horrible treatment of prisoners.

The second idea refers to the prisoners being the cause of abuse. the argument there is that prison violence is a result of the involuntary confinement of individuals who do not abide by the law and who are impulsive and aggressive. The prisoners have already shown that they are not able to function within the normal structure of society. The Stanford Prison Experiment uses a prison-like simulation and the ideas of “nature” to create an environment with normal college students who have no known tendencies of aggression and association with abuse of power, who are forced to basic instincts. This experiment contributes to psychology in a huge way. Half of the people will go through the traumatizing experiences of a prisoner, while the other half will be in charge as a guard.

Method: This experiment was designed to be a simple one, with one single treatment variable, which was the random assignment to play a guard or a prisoner. The prison was built in the basement of the psychology building at Stanford University. There were two walls, one with the only entrance door to the cell block and the other with a small observation screen, and the three small cells were made from Lab rooms. Each cell had a cot for the prisoners, including a mattress, sheet and pillow, but there was no other furniture in the cells. There was also a space for the guards to get changed and to relax, there was also a bedroom for the warden, the superintendent, and the interview room

A newspaper ad went out asking for male volunteers to participate and the psychological study of a prison life, and they would be paid $15 per day. 22 subjects were selected out of the 75 men who responded, and they each completed an extensive questionnaire, Including their family background, history of physical and mental health, and involvement of crimes. The subjects who seemed to be the most stable, mature, and least involved in wrong behaviors were selected to participate in the study. a coin flip was made to assign the roles of the guard to half of the men, and the other half were assigned to the role of the prisoners. All of the participants were college students, all but one were caucasion and middle class. It was extremely important that the men Were Strangers to each other oh, so that the experiment would run smoothly. The day before starting each subject went through psychological testing, and to avoid bias scores were held until the study was complete. The final number was 11 guards and 10 prisoners. a contract was signed agreeing to a minimally adequate diet, clothing, housing and Medical Care. the prisoners were told to expect to be under surveillance meaning they have no privacy, and to even have some of their basic civil rights taken away. They could not physically be abused . The guards were told the rules that they had to follow. To begin, each prisoner was arrested at home and brought to the prison, where they were now under the guards control. The prisoners worst served three meals a day oh, and followed more realistic prison patterns. They were associated by number and performed “counts” each day.

Result: The results from this experiment showed a lot more than what was originally hypothesized. The environment of being in prison had a huge impact on the state of both the prisoners and the guards. Both groups showed tendencies in increased negativity through the experiment. The prisoners immediately became very passive, while the guards became very initiative. The guards used verbal exchanges instead of physical violence. The most dramatic impact of this experiment was the five prisoners who had to be released because of extreme depression and anxiety. Similar symptoms were found in subjects beginning the second day of imprisonment. The fifth prisoner had a psychosomatic rash which covered his body. One of the most intriguing aspects of the Stanford Prison Experiment was that it ended after only six days. The prisoners were relieved knowing that they were done, but the guards we’re so involved in the roles, they enjoyed being in complete control with so much power they did not want to give it up. While one guard was personally upset and felt bad for the prisoners, he even asked to give up his role and become one of them. For the rest of the guards, they showed up on time, and even stayed voluntarily without the additional pay. The main result in the experiment showed that people are so ready and we’ll easily take on the role in charge, and with the most power even if it means dehumanizing someone else. Rarely will someone feel bad and even want to switch roles.

Critique Section: After reading and doing research on the Stanford Prison Experiment I would agree that people are manipulated by the roles or environment that they have to take on. The strength of this experiment was that it was so realistic, from the looks to the roles. In my opinion the article doesn’t show any bias, but does talk about the limitation in the experiment. The limitations word that there was no physical abuse, no racism, and no involuntarily homosexuality. This research was so interesting because it truly showed how an environment can have such a big effect on someone’s mental state. I also found it interesting because it showed how someone can adapt to a role so deeply. I was interested to see how everything was going to be set up, and what rules we’re going to be set in place. Arresting the prisoners at home gave the experiment a nice touch of being realistic. It surprised me that the experiment ended after only 6 days when it was supposed to be up to 14 days long. The reality of imprisonment really came to life through this experiment and it had a total of emotions on the guards and prisoners.

I agree with this research and experiment because although it seemed cruel and took a toll on the subjects, it discovered how people adapt when they are put into a specific role. People argue that this experiment was extreme, and an abuse of power but that is why it was so groundbreaking. physical abuse was cut out and this experiment was not intended to put the subjects in harm’s way. The guards’ reactions to the experiment being cut short was a little concerning because of how much the power changed them. They adapted deeply, they did not want to give up and convert to who they were before.

The Stanford Prison Experiment really Society in many different ways, because in so many situations people have to adapt to a new life or a certain role. People endure different experiences in life where they have to adapt to a new role. This is the way actors live their life. It seems like each day they have to become someone new, but they have to be strong enough to be able to play so many roles and not get caught up in one or another. This experiment even fits into society in a political way. politicians have roles to play, and sometimes their role at home is different from the road that we see in public. Sometimes we are put into a role that we are unfamiliar with, but it is our job to make the best of it. Prisoners are among the people who are forced into a role, and don’t have an opportunity to get out, so that is the way they live their life now. This topic of having to fit into a role is one of the biggest parts of human nature. We humans have different conflicts that we go through everyday, and we have to play different roles to survive. The Stanford experiment showed so many aspects of the guards and prisoners. It was an important piece of research, and it was a mock design that could potentially help prisons today. If the percentage of reoffenders lowered, the world would be safer, and this experiment may help with that.

History of Stanford Prison Experiment essay

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History of Stanford Prison Experiment. (2022, Apr 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/history-of-stanford-prison-experiment/

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