Stanford Prison Experiment Video NOTES.docx

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Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 3150
Michelle Preyde

Stanford Prison Experiment • 1971 • Interested in what happens when you put good people in an evil place • Does the situation outside of you, the institution, come to control your behavior OR do the things inside of you (morals, attitude, values etc.), allow you to rise above a negative environment? • Prison cells really small • Solitary confinement for punishment – when you close door, totally dark • Guards wore military outfits and silver, reflecting shades so their eyes were covered – loses some of the humanity • Wanted to create a sense of power for the guards – wanted a sense that the guards have power over the prison • Wanted to understand how people respond to authority • Volunteers told they were taking part in research to improve memory – lie! • Teacher separated from learner by screen – administer electric shock when answer was incorrect and further increase strength of shock with each wrong answer • Participants didn’t know learner was actor and shocks were harmless • 2/3 of volunteers were willing to administer a fatal electric shock to learner, with encouragement, by a man who they perceived as an authority figure – simple a man in a white coat • Findings showed that decent American citizens were as capable of committing acts against their conscience as the Germans had been under the Nazi’s • Zimardo selected students as participants • Participants had to pass tests screening out anyone with a psychological disability • Participants paid 15$ a day • Each randomly assigned to role of guard or prisoner • Participant – “It was not an experiment to me. It was a prison – a prison run by psychologists, instead of the state.” • 2 week study • Once you put a uniform on and are given a job, you really become that person • Zimbardo was prison superintendent • Guards were briefed – you have to maintain law and order; if prisoners escape, the experiment is over; can’t use physical violence • Zimbardo said – prisoners need to belief their life is controlled by us, we have total power and they have NONE • Prisoners blindfolded to confuse on whereabouts • Guards made fun of genitals when prisoners had to strip down • Guards thought that prisoners were just sitting around and it was like a ‘summer camp’ – too easy for them • On 2 morning, prisoners decided to stir things up, barricading their doors with their beds – prisoners rebelled • Zimbardo didn’t expect rebellion, because not much happened – guards and participants were bored • Zimbardo believed participants were rebelling because of the status – being anonymous, having to follow orders from other students • Guards turned on other prisoners because of participants acting out • Participants were mean to guards and guards were mad • Prisoners made to do tasks in middle of night – cleaning toilet with hands, make them exercise • No light in prison – participants didn’t know if it was night or day • 1 prisoner wanted to leave experiment – Zimbardo asked him to stay, promising that he will keep guards away from him, but wanted information from him (snitch) • He believed they wouldn’t let him go but they never said that – he told other prisoners they wouldn’t let him leave – so now everyone believes it’s like a real prison • 1 prisoner acted crazy in hopes that they would release him – starts with make believe, then he cursed and screamed, becoming excessively disturbed so they released him! • Participant – “Never been so upset in my life. Experience of being out of control” • Boundary between reality and make believe, even for Zimbardo – knew prisoner would return with friends to liberate the rest of the students in the
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