A Psychological Experiment On Social Psychology Essays

1247 Words Mar 9th, 2015 null Page
The Oxford Dictionary defines social psychology as “the branch of psychology that deals with social interactions, including their origins and their effects on the individual.”. This means the study of how individuals and groups communicate, relate and act towards others as well as where certain behaviour/attitudes originated and how they developed and ultimately their effects. This particular branch of psychology is of utmost importance as with greater understanding, psychologists and professionals are better equipped to recognise patterns, indicators and responses and act accordingly for the benefit others.

In 1971, Philip Zimbardo, funded by the US Office of Naval Research, conducted a psychological experiment to determine how average members of society with no history of psychological problems, criminal histories or substance misuse issues would react to the adoption of role of either prison guard or prisoner. The experiment took place in Stanford University, California, USA which had been converted, for all intents and purposes into what appeared to be a functioning prison.

The results of the experiment were more dramatic than even Zimbardo could have predicted. Though it was expected to run for between 7 to 14 days, the experiment was terminated after 6 days for the safety and well being of those posing as inmates. Additionally, a number of the ‘prisoners’ were ‘released’ before the end of the 6th day “due to severe emotional or cognitive reactions”. The Stanford…

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