The Environment Of A Prison Is Affiliated As An Aggressive And Violent Institution

1643 Words Jul 7th, 2015 7 Pages
The environment of a prison is affiliated as an aggressive and violent institution. Paul Zimbardo, a psychologist and Stanford University professor believed it was the nature of the roles that prisoners and guards were expected to portray that induced such violent behavior. He conducted the Stanford Prison Experiment of 1971 to observe ordinary people when randomly assigned the roles of a “prisoner” or a “guard”. He gathered 24 young male students from the United States and Canada, converting the basement of the Stanford psychology building into a mock prison to conduct the experiment. Costumes were provided in an attempt to make the experiment more “realistic”. The participants who were to be guards were given uniforms, mirrored sunglasses and wooden batons. The participants who were to be prisoners wore degrading clothing, along with a chain around one ankle. The guards began to proclaim their authority through dictating actions, such as sleep deprivation, stripping the prisoners naked and putting bags over their heads. The behavior of the guards became so cruel towards the prisoners that the 14 day experiment was ended at the sixth day. Although the experiment was viewed as unethical and harsh, many lessons were learned about human nature and society in general.
The results observed at the end of the experiment were quite informative. First and foremost, we were able to learn that it is the environment that has a huge impact on individual behavior. It is the social…
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