Essay on A Review On The Stanford Prison Experiment

1554 Words 7 Pages
This article addresses the problems within prisons: namely, how these institutions fail to rehabilitate prisoners, and instead become hotpots of discontent and misery. The pitiful conditions inside prisons, especially those caused by overzealous and aggressive authority figures, as well as unhappy and mistreated prisoners, are also addressed. The purpose of this research was to discover and isolate processes that cause aggressive (for those with authority) and submissive (for those without authority) behaviour in “total institutions” – institutions with such an authoritarian/submissive dynamic (in this case, a prison). The authors’ hypothesis is the “dispositional hypothesis” – how the nature of other humans affects the conditions in which they are residing. In the case of this experiment, they are observing the “guard mentality” (how the possession of authority negatively affects those people that fall under the jurisdiction of that authority), as well as how prisoners react to that mentality.
The subjects of this study were 21 normal, healthy male college students who were in the Stanford area for the summer. The majority were of the middle class, and all (save one Asian) were Caucasian. They were randomly divided into the “prisoner” group and the “guard” group. After division, there were 11 guards and 10 prisoners. Guards had to act as though they were guards in an actual prison – doing things such as ensure prisoners were…

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