The Stanford Prison Experiment: Phillip Zimbardo

1081 WordsJun 16, 20185 Pages
The experimental study that I chose to write about is the Stanford Prison Experiment, which was run by Phillip Zimbardo. More than seventy applicants answered an ad looking for volunteers to participate in a study that tested the physiological effects of prison life. The volunteers were all given interviews and personality tests. The study was left with twenty-four male college students. For the experiment, eighteen volunteers took part, with the other volunteers being on call. The volunteers were then divided into two groups, guards and prisoners, randomly assigned by coin flips. The experiment began on August 14th, 1971 in the basement of Stanford’s psychology building. To create the prison cells for the prisoners, the doors were taken…show more content…
Soon everything the prisoners did became a privilege, including using the bathroom. Lights were shut off at ten o’clock at night and after that point, the prisoners would be forced to use the buckets left in their cell as toilet; this further tarnished the environment of the prison. Less than two days into the experiment, one of the prisoners began to experience rage, emotional disturbance, uncontrollable crying, began acting crazy, and screaming. The experiment leaders realized he was really suffering and they had to release him. The next day was visiting day for the parents and friends of the prisoners. In order to stop parents from taking their children home, the experimenters cleaned the prison and the prisoners to make them seem pleasant. After the parents visited, there were rumors going around that the prisoners were going to attempt to escape. After the rumor was proved to be untrue, guards acted harshly towards the prisoners and added punishments. A priest who visited the prison, talked with prisoners and offered to contact some of their families for legal help. By day five, there were three types of guards; tough but fair guards, good guards, and hostile guards. The study was cut short on August 20th, 1971. Prisoners began to break down emotionally and they tried to find ways to cope with it. The guards had total control of the prison and the prisoners had become isolated individuals. The experiment ended
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