What Can We Learn from the Stanford Prison Experiment?

935 Words May 3rd, 2012 4 Pages
What can we learn from the Stanford Prison Experiment?

There is no doubt that the study conducted by Dr Philip Zimbardo in 1971 at Stanford University was extremely valuable to not only the Psychology profession, but also to all social science fields. He tested and selected participates to recreate a prison environment separating one group into two, guards and prisoners, and the results were truly ground breaking.

A lot of significant information was gathered and the results help us understand psychological processes and the changes in individuals submitted to an authoritarian system. College students were placed in a situation that caused a radical alteration to their behavioural patterns. For some of them it only took two days
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If the centre of attention were to be the recovery and recuperation of criminal offenders, time spent in prison could be a time of personal development, which could in turn lead to a life contributing to society rather than taking from society.

A place that congregates people from different walks of life and backgrounds with a lot of time to kill it is a place of potential. “An empty mind is a devil’s workshop”.
Giving the opportunity of a productive prison life could maybe change some people’s life and get people out of there with positive results. But such a great adjustment to a system that has its roots on a negative approach wouldn’t be easy. So it is not only governments that need to take action. Other institutions of society and even communities could probably gain from investing in lives that will enter back into society and shouldn’t go back to crime.

Another fact we cannot deny we learn from the Stanford Prison Experiment is about the fragility of the human mind. It is important to seek internal balance of emotions, values and feelings to achieve a healthy mental life but when an individual is exposed to an environment of extreme oppression it can definitely shake ones stability.

Mental abuse should be considered as bad as physical because it destroys people’s self esteem. It removes the sense of being able to accomplish and achieve goals and dreams. Maybe because the wounds of
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