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McGill University
PSYC 215
Donald Taylor

PSYCH 215 Lecture Nov 28 Zimbargo’s famous prison experiments: they are powerful evidence for how extraordinary demands roles make on us  Basement of Stanford university  Cheaply as possible turned the basement into a mock prison  Got undergrad students and gave them battery of personality tests- only made sure people who were very normal psychologically speaking students  No weirdo’s- everyone is normal, he randomly divides students into 2 groups: prisoners and guards  Students aware of what they’re getting into- the guards are given instructions and uniforms  The prisoners had it worked out with local cops- went to homes of students and picked up by quad car and brought to basement and were fingerprinted, photographer and cells  The overwhelming findings- the level to which the guards followed roles and level to which the prisoners acted out their role was so convincing that he had to stop experiment, very dangerous  Guards- psychologically and physically abused prisoners  Prisoners- retreated into passive aggressive, non-participatory behavior  Lives changed over night- to begin they were perfectly normal  They were not given specific instructions about how to behave- just behaved according to how they thought they should  We don’t recognize the power because we’re in our roles and we’ve bought into them and just do it Zero Tolerance  New buzz word we’ve all heard about  Anywhere near schools- all kinds of posters about zero tolerance, “zero tolerance for bullying, drugs, violence”  One example, companies everywhere  Nobody is thinking the concept through  It means “this place doesn’t think it’s a good idea”- well why zero tolerance?  Zero tolerance grew up in a situation where authorities wanted to get across the idea that the behavior is not acceptable or not normative- that doesn’t work  It simply means, you break this norm- you’re gone, no discussion  It did not come from schools- where you have ordinary school situation and a few bullies, develop counseling to deal with problems and so forth  Most people react to bullying when they see it on the rise  Came from situations where the norm had been reversed o In some inner-city high school where prof worked every student came to school with a weapon, every day was violent o Never heard discussion about new program o Just how do I survive the day as a teacher- how do I maintain discipline? o That’s where zero-tolerance is born o Or in community that is so over run by drugs and crack-houses where nobody can walk down the street without fearing for their lives o Situations where norms are way out of whack  Not 80 good to 20 bad, reversed  Zero tolerance said: you come into this school with a weapon, you’re gone from this school forever o Extreme o Don’t come in with a weapon- don’t bring a gun, a knife, a pen knife, a plastic gun, a cardboard gun o Don’t bring even a knife to cut apple- no debate  HUGE POLICY- violates equity theory, person who performs best gets better grade, ratio is what counts o The bigger the crime the longer the time o Small transgression small punishment o Big bad transgression, big bad punishment o Does not follow equity- I don’t care if what you’re doing is small, medium or large- large punishment o Right away don’t like the sound of it  Why does it make sense? o For 99% of the situations we know zero penalty doesn’t make sense o You do A you get a days suspension- you do B you get a week o Its graded upon severity o When times are desperate- that’s when you apply zero tolerance o Teachers and students did not know they would come home that night from school- THAT’S WHERE ZERO APPLIES o We use the word in a totally different way- it’s not a good idea o REAL- you even hit at the behavior we’re trying to change and you’re gone o First story) every talk show, every city- a kid brought a plastic knife to school and went into the cafeteria and started cutting his apple with the knife- principle told him to pack his bags and leave  They’re thinking for the last 20 years environment has been so violent know one is learning anything  They’re only one way to turn it around- no tolerance, no debate  The minute students see there’s leeway- they don’t take it seriously  Anything that resembles a weapon, you’re gone  Anything short of that, no way the school can turn itself around o It is not a policy that makes sense in normal situations o Normal things we do aren’t enough in some situations- telling a student he had a detention meant nothing, student would just pull a knife o Story 2) prof doing research, told to go to community centre to talk with students, what are you doing here? This is my sentence. You’re playing basketball. It’s called doing community time. Aren’t you supposed to do something for the community? What did you do? I dummied the teacher. She dissed me;
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