Stanford Prison Experiment Essay

889 Words Oct 3rd, 2015 4 Pages
The Stanford Prison Experiment

California State University, Long Beach

The Stanford Prison Experiment

The Stanford Prison Experiment is a very thought-provoking topic discussed in various classes. Professor and psychologist Philip Zimbardo conducted this experiment through Stanford University. Twenty-four men were randomly selected to participate in a simulated prison environment and were given roles as prisoners or prison guards. This was done to challenge the moral compass of “good” individuals in a negative environment, which in this case was a prison. Surprisingly, the participants truly embodied their roles. Throughout the experiment, the prison guards enforced their authoritarian power and tormented the prisoners both
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The results of his actions in the experiment contributed to the questioning as to whether or not it was executed ethically. In the realm of sociology, researchers must abide to certain responsibilities. According to the American Sociological Association Code of Ethics (1997), researchers must fully disclose all their findings without any bias, “safeguard the participants’ right to privacy and dignity while protecting them from harm,” secure the confidential information given by the participants, and provide credit to those who assisted in the research. Of all these responsibilities, Zimbardo’s experiment challenged whether or not the participants, particularly the prisoners, were protected from harm and had their dignity upheld. In the perspective of the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics (1997), the Stanford Experiment violated the second responsibility listed. The term “harm” could be applied to physical, psychological, and emotional harm. Zimbardo established that the guards cannot use physical violence; however, the prisoners were abused in other methods. After initially entering the prison, the prisoners were stripped naked and deloused. During this process, the guards humiliated the prisoners and made inappropriate and degrading remarks about their genitals. This can be perceived as a form of emotional and psychological

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