Stanford Prison Experiment Dilemma

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Ethical Issues within the Stanford Prison Experiment The Stanford prison experiment was a controversial experiment in human behavior conducted at Stanford University in 1971. The experiment took twenty-four voluntary students and placed them in the role of either prison guard or prisoner, in a make shift prison that was constructed in the basement of the psychology department of Stanford University. The experiment was to last fourteen days but was terminated after six days due to the negative psychological impact on the participants (Haney, Banks, & Zimbardo (1973). Haney, Banks, & Zimbardo (1973), published a detailed report on the outcome of the Stanford prison experiment. According to Haney, et al, (2013, p 91), “profound psychological …show more content…
The participants were kept in an environment, as close to real prison as they could get, for twenty-four hours a day for the duration of the experiment. The prisoner participants were dressed and treated like real prisoners (Haney, et al, 1973). With few rules of conduct levied upon those in the role of guard and little instruction on how to do their job, the study created an atmosphere of extreme stress (Drury, et al, 2012). According to Cochran (2016), within two days the prisoners became rebellious and the guards became verbally and physically abusive. Zimbardo stated in an interview, that was conducted almost forty years after the experiment, “people were stressed, day, and night, for five days, twenty-four hours a day. There’s no question that it was a high level of stress, because five of the boys had breakdowns, the first within thirty-six hours. I should have ended the study after the second prisoner broke down” (Drury, et al, 2012, p …show more content…
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