Zimbardo Evaluation

1774 Words 8 Pages
Describe and evaluate one classical study. Outline how your chosen study has impacted the psychological field.

In 1971, Zimbardo was interested in discovering the extent to which the external features of an institutional setting could override the internal dispositions of the actors in that environment (Zimbardo, 2007). He hypothesised that intrinsic traits within one’s personality are responsible for cruel and offensive behaviour displayed in prison environments. Zimbardo conducted a study whereby he aimed to investigate whether individuals would conform to roles of either a guard, or prisoner, in a simulated prison setting.

The participants were recruited by a newspaper advertisement in the Palo Alto Times and The Stanford Daily offering
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His study was deemed highly unethical as suffering by the participants was experienced to such a high degree. This could have caused psychological harm to the individuals participating. As a result of such behaviour, governments have now decided to have a detailed look into the ethics of research to ensure no harm is given to participants of any study. Zimbardo claims that today we are now unable to gain new knowledge that could enhance society due to the ethical restrictions. (Maslach, 1996) This provided an impact on the psychological field as ethics boards thus decided that if a participant is involved in a study then no harm should occur to them. Participants should leave the study in the same psychological and physical state that they began …show more content…
Abu Ghraib held one of the most notorious prisons whereby executions, torture and appalling living conditions existed. Abu Ghraib became a U.S. military prison for criminals after its original regime collapsed. To much concern, after America had taken over this prison and replaced all of its inmates, Major General Antonio M. Tuguba found that there were numerous cases of abuse at Abu Ghraib. These illegal instances of abuse were actioned by members of the American intelligence community (Hersh, 2004). This displays that the Americans level of authority over those in Abu Ghraib may have been due trying to conform to their role of power. The American guards had been placed in an entirely new situation with little experience allowing them to perform as they deemed appropriate. Similarly, the guards in Zimbardo’s study were also placed into a new situation as so allowed themselves to simply play the role of a guard in power or a powerless

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