Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment Essay

Words: 1631
Pages: 7

The Zimbardo prison experiment was a study of human responses to captivity, dehumanization and its effects on the behavior on authority figures and inmates in prison situations. Conducted in 1971 the experiment was led by Phlilip Zimbardo. Volunteer College students played the roles of both guards and prisoners living in a simulated prison setting in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.
Philip Zimbardo and his team aimed to demonstrate the situational rather than the dispositional causes of negative behaviour and thought patters found in prison settings by conducting the simulation with average everyday participants playing the roles of guard and prisoner. From a total of seventy-five volunteers, twenty-two male participants
…show more content…
This is because they had internalized the prisoner identity, they considered themselves prisoners, hence, they stayed.
Zimbardo later concluded the experiment after only six days, of a planned two weeks' duration and the Stanford Prison experiment was shut down.. The experiment's results demonstrate the impressionability and obedience of people when provided with a role dominance and social and institutional influence. It is also used to show cognitive dissonance theory and the power of authority.
The results support situational attributions of behavior rather than dispositional attribution. In other words, it seemed the situation, or more so, the simple implementation of uniforms with roles ‘attached’, caused the participants' behavior, rather than anything in their individual personalities. Is this not the same in our everyday lives? In our school system we take on the expected roles and behaviours of the uniforms we where. For example, under controlled circumstances, one would most likely find a teacher disciplining a student for his wrongs, rather than the reverse. This is because of the status symbol that the teacher carries. The teacher is given authority over the student and is more and individual in such situations than that student. To elaborate on that point, let me raise a question. Why is it that students are given strict codes of attire to which they must adhere in order to be a part