What Is The Significance Of The Stanford Prison Experiment According To Zimbardo?

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There have been many psychological studies conducted at institutions but none as famous as the Stanford Prison Experiment led by Dr. Philip Zimbardo and his associates (Movahedi, 153). An advertisement was put out seeking volunteers to participate in a mock prison for 1-2 weeks with each volunteer earning $15/day. There were over 70 applicants and each applicant went through a diagnostic interview and psychological test to evaluate their candidacy. The artifact that I have chosen to write this report is on the movie adaptation of this experiment that made its debut on July 17, 2015. This film has used real comments made during the experiment and was made to portray the experiment as accurately as possible. I will be examining the relationship …show more content…
With Zimbardo peering through, he could control the environment to what he saw fit but he chose not to interrupt several times when some of his colleagues questioned the prison guards’ actions. This could be associated with the term “social power” which refers to a person’s ability to control the behavior of others and thus, indirectly, his own environment (Miller, 11). Zimbardo portrayed a laissez-faire leadership so that he could carefully watch how rapidly the participants’ roles progressed and in the end embraced. He had a hand in controlling the Warden he appointed who thus controlled the prison guards. Although there was no proper training for the prison guards, they were still told to instill fear and a sense of powerlessness to the prisoners (Haslam, 156). He did interrupt the experiment when the situation became urgent enough to need him to intervene. This changed the dynamic between him as a voyeur of the experiment to him being part of the experiment itself. He willingly chose not to exercise the use of his power in order to observe what people would do if they were given power and for others, to observe their behavior when their sense of identity was taken away from them. Where there is power there will always be resistance. One character in particular was shown in most of the film, he was known as Prisoner 8612 who had a mental breakdown from the abuse that he was given by the prison guards. He showed many signs of rebellion such as talking back to the prison guards and planning an escape out of the simulated prison. He tried to bring about a collective will to overthrow the guards and win back their rights. He was one of the most vocal out of the participants and was sent to “The Hole” very often. This was a dark, enclosed utility closet that was transformed into a cell used

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