Stanford Prison Experiment Essay

1150 Words 5 Pages
When put into an authoritative position over others, is it possible to claim that with this new power individual(s) would be fair and ethical or could it be said that ones true colors would show? A group of researchers, headed by Stanford University psychologist Philip G. Zimbardo, designed and executed an unusual experiment that used a mock prison setting, with college students role-playing either as prisoners or guards to test the power of the social situation to determine psychological effects and behavior (1971). The experiment simulated a real life scenario of William Golding’s novel, “Lord of the Flies” showing a decay and failure of traditional rules and morals; distracting exactly how people should behave toward one another. This …show more content…
To ensure to have satisfactory results in his study, Zimbardo required some preconditions. One of which was the period of time for the experiment to be conducted. He believed that one-to-two weeks would be essential in “providing our research participants with sufficient time for them to become fully engaged in their experimentally assigned roles of either guards or prisoners. Having [our] participants live in that setting day and night, if prisoners, or work for long eight-hour shifts, if guards, would also allow sufficient time for situational norms to develop and patters of social interaction to emerge, change and become crystallized” (Zimbardo, 2013). Other preconditions he had were the mentalities of his volunteers; are they “normal,” healthy mentally and physically, are they without any prior history of conviction or drug usage?
Some other preconditions were to make the experimental setting bear a resemblance as closely to a functional simulation of the psychology of imprisonment as humanly possible. He also wanted to make sure that there was the absence of any earlier indoctrination in how to play the randomly assigned roles; to leave that up to each participant’s prior societal teachings of the meaning of prisons and the behavioral scripts associated with the oppositional roles (Zambardo, 2005). Although he had a significantly large abundance…