Standford Prison Study Essay

559 Words 3 Pages
I choose to examine the Stanford Prison Study. This experiment was conducted by a famous psychologist named Philip Zimbardo. This study focused on testing if and how quickly individuals would conform to social roles they were assigned. The experiment took place on the bottom floor of the psychology building at Stanford University which was transformed into a mock prison. In order to achieve the appearance of a real prison, the cells included bare walls, limited space, and bared doors and windows. He then selected 21 males from 75 volunteers and appointed them as either a prisoner or a guard. The study began by arresting the prisoners at their respective houses unexpectedly. They were then taken to the mock prison and processed at they …show more content…
As the study progressed, the guards become more aggressive and assertive while the prisoners become more submissive. The study became so authentic that Zimbardo shut down the experiment because he feared the prisoners were going to suffer permanent physical and mental damaged if the experiment continued. In conclusion, Zimbardo discovered people will quickly confirm to social roles especially those which are strongly stereotyped such as the prisoner and guard roles. Although this experiment suffers from multiple ethical dilemmas I think Zimbardo tried to design and achieve a safe study. The main ethical problem in this study is that the prisoners suffered mental and possible physical damage including fear, anger, and stress. One prisoner was even removed from the experiment after thirty-six hours because of uncontrollable screaming, crying, and anger tirades. In addition, three other individuals were removed after it appeared they had experienced emotional damage that could be long-lasting. All of the emotions experienced by the prisoners were discussed in class as elements making a study unethical. However, it is important to note that Zimbardo attempted to prevent these types of results by having participants psychologically examined prior to the experiment being conducted. This was discussed in class as a justification of harm. This process is called screening; it removes possible candidates