Stanford Prison Study

1973
1973
Year in which the study was conducted/that you should put down on exam papers.

Zimbardo
Zimbardo
One of the main psychologists associated with this study.

Haney et al
Haney et al
The psychologists you should write down in exams regarding this study.

Aim
Aim
Whether people would conform to given social roles or not.

Method
Method
Mock prison in Stanford University basement. Participants randomly assigned the role of prisoner or guard. For two weeks, these participants were then supposed to act in these roles. The guards were given props such as reflective sunglasses, clubs and uniforms – the prisoners were unexpectedly arrested at home, given an ID number and referred to as that on their uniforms.

Results
Results
After a mere two days, the study went horribly wrong (but almost incredibly right for the psychologists). The guards began to become incredibly tyrannical and began abusing the prisoners (such as forcing them, in the middle of the night, to clean toilets with their bare hands and abusing them physically with their clubs) and asked for extra work without pay. As for the prisoners, they also conformed to SOCIAL ROLES as they began asking for “parole” rather than to withdraw from the study. Five participants had to be removed due to serious psychological impacts (anxiety, crying and rage).

Conclusion
Conclusion
People will conform to social roles particularly when under rather stereotypical circumstances.

Social roles
Social roles
The roles given to an individual within society

Example of social role [1]
Example of social role [1]
Daughter/son to your parent(s).

Example of social role [2]
Example of social role [2]
A Level student.

Example of social role [3]
Example of social role [3]
Police(wo)man

Deindividuation
Deindividuation
Loss of self-awareness in a group. You lose your individuality.

Relevance of deindividuation to SPE
Relevance of deindividuation to SPE
The guards and prisoners lost their own sense of humanity and unleashed another version of themselves.

Criticism: Ecological validity
Criticism: Ecological validity
Some critics say the study lacked ecological validity as it was in the basement of a university, not a real prison.

Definition: Ecological validity
Definition: Ecological validity
How close a study relates to real life.

Criticism: Ethical concerns
Criticism: Ethical concerns
Due to some of the participants getting psychological problems after the study, some critics say that the study is not entirely ethical.

Definition: Ethical
Definition: Ethical
If something is ethical, it is morally or socially acceptable within modern society.