The Stanford Prison Experiment, And Philip Zimbardo's Impact On Social Psychology

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In 1971, Philip Zimbardo made a huge impact on the field of Psychology. He changed the world of social psychology by taking it from a field focused on behavior being dispositional and transitioned it into a focus on social psychology in the terms of viewing behavior as situational. Gordon Allport, Fritz Heider, Harold Kelley and Bernard Weiner all helped set the stage for personality psychology and social psychology. Each of these individuals touched on the idea of behavior being dispositional until Solomon Asch, Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo introduced the idea that situations influence our actions. Dispositional behavior means that behavior is presented by an internal factor within us (e.g. the environment or culture we grow up in). Stanley Milgram peaked Zimbardo’s interest in testing the dispositional hypothesis through his popular study, the Milgram study. This peak of interest in situational social psychology came from his Stanford prison experiment. The Stanford prison experiment was designed to observe obedience and role …show more content…
For example, The Stanford Prison Experiment, directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez. This particular movie was filmed for two reasons: student’s today do not have a sense for the 1970s era in which the study took place and students today seem to need to be entertained more than previous generations (Dunn, 2016). With that said, the goal of this film was to portray the power of situation Zimbardo was testing in his experiment. Specifically, Zimbardo strayed from the present belief of behavior being dispositional because he believed situational influences (e.g., social pressure, norms, roles) often override people’s personalities, character, and expectations for how they should or will act (e.g., Nisbett, 1980; Ross & Nisbett,

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