By Saul McLeodupdated Aim: To investigate how readily people would conform to the roles of guard and prisoner in a role-playing exercise that simulated prison life. Zimbardo was interested in finding out whether the brutality reported among guards in American prisons was due to the sadistic personalities of the guards i.
Zimbardo's goals[ edit ] The archived official website of the Stanford Prison Experiment describes the experiment goal as follows: We wanted to see what the psychological effects were of becoming a prisoner or prison guard.
To do this, we decided to set up a simulated prison and then carefully note the effects of this institution on the behavior of all those within its walls. Zimbardo's primary reason for conducting the experiment was to focus on the power of roles, rules, symbols, group identity and situational validation of behavior that generally would repulse ordinary individuals.
The team selected the 24 applicants whose test results predicted they would be the most psychologically stable and healthy. The prison had two fabricated walls, one at the entrance, and one at the cell wall to block observation. They were given rest and relaxation areas, and other comforts.
Twelve of the 24 participants were assigned the role of prisoner 9 plus 3 potential substituteswhile the other 12 were assigned the role of guard also 9 plus 3 potential substitutes.
Zimbardo took on the role of the superintendent and an undergraduate research assistant took on the role of the warden. Zimbardo designed the experiment in order to induce disorientationdepersonalizationand deindividuation in the participants.
The researchers held an orientation session for the guards the day before the experiment, during which guards were instructed not to harm the prisoners physically or withhold food or drink. In the footage of the study, Zimbardo can be seen talking to the guards: We're going to take away their individuality in various ways.
In general what all this leads to is a sense of powerlessness. That is, in this situation we'll have all the power and they'll have none. Prisoners wore uncomfortable, ill-fitting smocks and stocking caps, as well as a chain around one ankle.
Guards were instructed to call prisoners by their assigned numbers, sewn on their uniforms, instead of by name. The prisoners were "arrested" at their homes and "charged" with armed robbery. The local Palo Alto police department assisted Zimbardo with the arrests and conducted full booking procedures on the prisoners, which included fingerprinting and taking mug shots.
The prisoners were transported to the mock prison from the police station, where they were strip searched and given their new identities. The small mock prison cells were set up to hold three prisoners each.
There was a small corridor for the prison yard, a closet for solitary confinement, and a bigger room across from the prisoners for the guards and warden. The prisoners were to stay in their cells and the yard all day and night until the end of the study.
The guards worked in teams of three for eight-hour shifts. The guards were not required to stay on site after their shift.Welcome to the official Stanford Prison Experiment website, which features extensive information about a classic psychology experiment that inspired an award-winning movie, New York Times bestseller, and documentary DVD.
By Philip Zimbardo Forty-four years ago, I conducted a research experiment that could have been the bane of my existence.
Instead, what has become known as the Stanford prison experiment (SPE. In , Dr.
Philip Zimbardo led the notorious Stanford Prison Experiment in order to answer the question, “What happens when you put good people in an evil place?” In this interview with Victor Yalom, Zimbardo speaks in-depth on the study, its lessons, and its relationship to Abu Ghraib decades later.
The Stanford Prison Experiment was a landmark psychological study of the human response to captivity, in particular, to the real world circumstances of prison life.
It was conducted in by Philip Zimbardo of Stanford University. Zimbardo drew from his participation in the Frederick case to write the book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, published by Random House in , which deals with the similarities between his own Stanford Prison Experiment and the Abu Ghraib abuses.
I. Introduction a. The Stanford Prison experiment was an attempt to test how people would act when put in a position of authority (Onishi et al., ). This experiment was conducted in by Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University (Zimbardo, ).