Zimbardo's Experiment And The Stanford Prison Experiment

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The Oxford Dictionary defines social psychology as “the branch of psychology that deals with social interactions, including their origins and their effects on the individual.”. This means the study of how individuals and groups communicate, relate and act towards others as well as where certain behaviour/attitudes originated and how they developed and ultimately their effects. This particular branch of psychology is of utmost importance as with greater understanding, psychologists and professionals are better equipped to recognise patterns, indicators and responses and act accordingly for the benefit others.

In 1971, Philip Zimbardo, funded by the US Office of Naval Research, conducted a psychological experiment to determine how average members
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Though it was expected to run for between 7 to 14 days, the experiment was terminated after 6 days for the safety and well being of those posing as inmates. Additionally, a number of the ‘prisoners’ were ‘released’ before the end of the 6th day “due to severe emotional or cognitive reactions”. The Stanford Prison Experiment was pivotal in shaping our understanding of the effects of authority as well as perceived and actual levels of power between individuals. Zimbardo’s experiment perfectly demonstrated how easily individuals with no indicating predisposition, such as the 24 men who participated which Zimbardo described as “healthy, intelligent, middle-class males” were able to alarmingly quickly be made to not only feel but truly believe and act accordingly to a dehumanised state, lacking power, individuality and accurate self …show more content…
As the instigating psychologist, it is alarming that even he was so persuaded by the self-imposed power that he expected certain privileges that would be well beyond the remit of civilians. Similarly, when visited by Gordon Bower, a friend and colleague of Zimbardo, he found himself becoming increasingly angry that Bower was asking questions relating to the study, as opposed to being concerned by things that had become paramount in Zimbardo’s mind such as a rumour of a planned escape.

The rumour became so entrenching to Zimbardo that he later admitted failing to record any data that day as he was utterly preoccupied by stifling the ‘breakout’ which ultimately was no more than a rumour amongst ‘prisoners’, potentially in an attempt to boost morale as their psyches had also become similar to those reported by actual inmates and

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