Stanford Prison Study Essay Example
Stanford Prison Study Essay Example

Stanford Prison Study Essay Example

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  • Pages: 3 (812 words)
  • Published: January 19, 2022
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Philip Zimbardo used twenty-four insane and normal Stanford college learners to do the experiment: a lesson in the influence of condition; he separated the student into prisons and guards. Zimbardo did this experiment using variables of duties, laws, supremacy, group segregations and mental torture. After only two days the experiment backfired, students could not withstand the demands; the prisoners gave in what the guards commanded although they did not inflict pain (Dischereit, 2014).

The prison followed the directives of the guard such that the experiment did not continue past the sixth day. In the experiment Zimbardo shown that, human beings take influence of supremacy and the involuntariness of the situation in making their decision. Zimbardo says that when making decisions, an individual should be conscious of the influence of situational variables to behavior. He made the conclusion of the e


xploitation of the prisoners and the wardens in the current world, referring prisons such as Guantanamo Bay Prisons.
Keywords: influence of situational variables

Stanford Prison Experiment

The Stanford prison research was an experiment done Philip Zimbardo; he wanted to study the effect psychological when one becomes a detainee or a prisoner warden. U.S Naval department funded the research, it wanted no know the reason behind prisoners warden- prisoners conflict, and it is a very effective experiment to understand the psychology of detention (Dischereit, 2014).

In order to conduct the research, Zimbardo made a mock prison in the Stanford University psychology building, he then recruited students to act like prisoners and the guard for two weeks. He started with more than seventy learners, he the eliminated those who had illnesses, criminals and drugs abusers, he was left with twenty-four students; he paid

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them $15 each day (Dunn, 2016).

There was random assignment of duties; Zimbardo left two reserves, one of the students dropped off. The acted like a true prison, students were mishandled. Booked in, they were the blindfolded and taken to secluded prisons in the basement, then stripped naked, given the prison clothes and identification. Their identification number referred them; they also had a tight hair cover and a chain put around their ankle. Each guard had a khaki uniform, a whistle and a crab. The guards instructed to maintain law and order using all means; they were not to inflict pain. Zimbardo observed the behavior of the prisoners and guards to make a conclusion (Dischereit, 2014).

Within a very short time the guards started to harass the prisoners, they enjoyed their role. The detainees had given boring jobs and dehumanizing tasks, they experienced physical violence and insults. The prisoners, behaved like real detainees, they started report their fellows to the wardens, the also started to befriend the guards in order to survive (Dunn, 2016).

The guards continued to be harsh and the prisoners acquiescent, they always tried to finds ways and means to please the guards. In the next day, violence broke in the cell, the guard were harsh to the prisoners, began harassing them. After three days, the prisoners started to show signs of depression and emotional breakdown. Although Zimbardo wanted to run the study for two weeks, he had to terminate it after six days (Dischereit, 2014).

Christina Maslach objected the experiment citing the immoral part of it; she was amused with how the corps punished the prisoners. Zimbardo also realized that he had changed from a

research psychologist to a prison overseer (Dischereit, 2014).

Relevance of the Topic

The study was very important , it has help to understand how situation affect the psychology of human it has help me understand that the situational variables can influence human behavior, although the experiment has been criticized for lack of validity, there is much evidence to support that people react to power and situations that are beyond their control (Dischereit, 2014).

Knowledge Acquired

The study has expanded my knowledge on the effect of uncontrollable situation and power on human behavior. People tend to adapt to the situation they find themselves ,In addition, I have realized the study charge the code of ethics of conducting researches, guidelines on how to conduct researches were developed, research have to be scrutinized by the ethics board before implementation (Dunn, 2016).

Probable Use of the Knowledge

The experiment is useful in the school environment, in order to instill learning and discipline culture an institution, the management can come with new measures, after strict observation to adhere to the rules, the students will embrace that change and it becomes the culture of the school. It May work in military camps to train the soldiers to persevere in stressful conditions (Dischereit, 2014).


  1. Dischereit, G. (2014). The Stanford Prison experiment A psychological experiment about the exploration of human behavior under imprisonment. Munich: GRIN Verlag GmbH.
  2. Dunn, D. S. (2016). “It’s still a prison to me”: A new dramatic film portrayal of the Stanford Prison experiment. PsycCRITIQUES, 61(3), . doi:10.1037/a0040008
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