Social Psychology In The Stanford Prison Experiment

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Social Psychology is the study of how human interactions shape and influence mental processes and displayed behaviors. Much like behaviorism, social psychology relies upon empirical, observable evidence and scientific experiments to prove theories. In fact, nearly all social psychology theories are supported by experiments. Social psychology also ignores the biological perspective of psychology, disregarding influence of hormones and neurotransmitters. Unlike behaviorism, social psychology recognizes the influence of cognitive processes and the thought processes that cause people and groups to behave in specific ways. Personally, social psychology is one of the most interesting units. It’s easy adaptable to everyday life, and it even helped …show more content…
A group of young men was divided into “guards” and “prisoners” in a mock prison experiment in the basement of Stanford Psychology Department . Over the course of several days, each participant over-identified with their given roles. The guards even harassed and forced prisoners to perform humiliating acts. Zimbardo, who helmed this experiment, found that the identification with a certain role altered how these individuals behaved. This experiment was used to defend the act of Abu ghraib prison guards who instigated a series of human rights violations against prisoners. The study was used to argue that the situation and role they developed dictated their thoughts and actions. No longer were they individuals, but part of a group identity. Hopefully if I were in a situation as severe as these cases, I would have the ability to recognize the dangers of the societal roles. Fortunately, experiments like the Stanford Prison Study are no longer permitted due to their extreme unethicalness. Not only were the participants not told of the true nature of the experiment, but Philip Zimbardo worked both as an overseer and as a participant in the experiment. Due to his dual involvement, he lost perspective and

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