The Stanford Prison Experiment At Stanford University

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I. Introduction:
Imagine that the year is 1971, and you are a male college student at Stanford University in California. Like most college kids, you are strapped for cash, so you begin to seek a part time job. You see an ad for a psychology study that pays $15 per day posted in the local newspaper, and decide to submit an application. Little do you know at the time, that the study you are applying for will become known worldwide and create such an impact that it remains relevant over 44 years later. This infamous study is known today as the Stanford Prison Experiment. The experiment was led by psychology professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo along with his team of researchers in the basement of the psychology building at Stanford University. Today, I am going to speak about why the experiment was conducted, what occurred during the experiment, and the ethical implications that resulted because of this notorious study.
II. Why the Experiment Was Conducted:
I will begin by explaining why the Stanford Prison Experiment was conducted. Dr. Philip Zimbardo and his research team sought to examine the effect that social institutions and certain situations have on an individual’s behavior. According to the American Psychological Association, a situation-centered approach to studying human behavior, “focuses on factors external to the person” (American Psychological Association). More specifically, Zimbardo wanted to study how quickly an individual would conform to the role of prisoner or
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