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Zimbardo’s
Stanford prison experiment aims were to reveal how social roles can influence
our behavior and we look at how it was conducted and what we can from it.

 

This experiment
was a psychological study of how human response to captivity, particularly to
the real world circumstances of prison life. It was conducted in 1971 by Philip
Zimbardo of Stanford University. 

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To conduct
this experiment Zimbardo converted a basement of the Stanford University psychology
building into a mock prison. In order to find volunteers, he advertised about
this asking the them to participate in a study of the psychological effects of
prison life.

 

As expected
the prisoners suffered great torture and several of them had mental breakdown
which included crying, yelling, screaming, etc. While the guards were doing
their job but were consumed in their own power and as they new that the people
that were below them in power, they used to strip them, beat them and dehumanized
them and more. But it only lasted for six days because of the effects the
prisoners were experiencing.

 

This leads
us to a question: To what extent was this experiment ethically wrong to see how
human behavior change in certain situations?

 

In my
opinion this experiment was ethically wrong as the participants in the experiment
were not fully informed as what was going to happen as Zimbardo himself did not
know what would happen (it was unpredictable). Also the participants who were
playing the role of the prisoners were not protected from the psychological
harm that they would have to face.

The
participants were treated unethically for the people rights from the beginning.

Participants were not given the opportunity nor given instruction to decide
that what all the risks were involved in the experiment. They were deprived
from their basic rights and were subjected to mental and physical harm without realizing
that the participants can end up in the same temporary situation.  The prisoners (students) were left damaged
and they had to suffer the stress that continued long after the study had even
ended.  

 

To some
extent I could agree that human behavior can change in certain situations but
this experiment when to far but this experiment showed us that human tend to
change their behavior in these type of situations but when we bring in torture
and mental harm it is definite humans will tend to change their behavior.

 

So in
conclusion this experiment was a success as real life situations were created
in the prison. This experiment showed that how factors could influence behavior
in people. This experiment also taught the psychologists how power changed the
behavior of the participants. The prison guards had power over the prisoners,
and most of the prisoners learned how to react to the guards.

 

But this
experiment was more unethical then than Milgrim’s experiment. 

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