The Stanford Prison Experiment is one of the scariest psychological experiments

On the morning of August 17, 1971, while curious neighbors were watching from behind the windows, nine young men in the Palo Alto area were arrested for armed robbery and extortion by Local police officers were arrested. The men were handcuffed in the back of a police car waiting to be taken to the Palo Alto police station, when the police arrived blindfolded and took them blindfolded to an artificial prisoner or the psychology department at Stanford University!

BingMag.com The Stanford Prison Experiment is one of the scariest psychological experiments

On the morning of August 17, 1971, while curious neighbors were watching from behind the windows, nine young men in the Palo Alto area were arrested for armed robbery and extortion by Local police officers were arrested. The men were handcuffed in the back of a police car waiting to be taken to the Palo Alto police station, when the police arrived blindfolded and took them blindfolded to an artificial prisoner or the psychology department at Stanford University!

Prison Experiment Stanford and speculations about its results!

These 9 young people were participants in a psychological experiment called the Stanford Prison Experiment, which is one of the most controversial studies in the history of social psychology (a drama film of the same name). It is made up!

In the Stanford prison experiment, subjects with certain characteristics such as students, white, from the middle class, mature (intellectually), stable (emotionally), Normal, smart, and used with citizenship from all over the US and Canada. Before testing these 24 selected people, they had filled a questionnaire about their family history, history of physical and mental health and social behaviors, which indicated that these people were considered normal. After selecting the qualified people, the research team divided them completely randomly into two groups of prison guards and prisoners. During the same procedure, within twenty-four hours of the beginning of the study, the prison guards began humiliating and psychologically abusing the prisoners according to the instructions of the research team. 6 days from the start of the activity, while it was supposed to last for two weeks, it stopped!

In this regard, the prisoners soon became obedient to the abuses of the prison guards, on the other hand, during the experiment, there were few protests from the prisoners. It is interesting to know that due to the mental condition and extremely sadistic behavior of the prison guards, as well as due to the fear of the situation getting out of control, this experiment was stopped after 6 days from the start of the activity, while it was supposed to last for 2 weeks!

It was less than a decade ago that Milgram's Obedience Studies showed that ordinary people, if encouraged by someone in a higher position than themselves, can attack and torture other people with what is considered painful and lethal. . In this regard, for many people, the results of the Stanford experiment emphasize the principle that ordinary people can become cruel and cruel people if they benefit from too much power. Today, more than forty-five years have passed since that experiment, and many researchers are trying to compare the lessons learned from the Stanford prison with cruel behaviors such as the behavior of the guards in the Abu Ghraib prison! The Stanford Prison Experiment can be considered a demonstration of the extraordinary power of the situation, which demonstrates the power of organizational norms within environments such as prisons. In other words, each of us can become a cruel and violent person according to the situation in which we are!

And yet, you should know that the results of the Stanford prison experiment are not so clear, because from the beginning of this study, it has been followed with ambiguity. As this experiment shows, normal people can have the potential of ugly behavior, also the way the situation is formed can affect our behavior. But is this study trying to highlight individual or organizational risk? Are the findings of this experiment specific to prisons, or do they span life as a whole? What did the Stanford Prison Experiment really show?

Description of the Stanford Prison Experiment

BingMag.com The Stanford Prison Experiment is one of the scariest psychological experiments

The appeal of this experiment has a lot to do with its seemingly simple programming! In this way, the experiment only included prisoners, prison guards, a fake prison and some basic laws governing the environment; But on the other hand, the reality of the fake prison was heavily manipulated, and the prison guards and prisoners acted in ways that were largely predetermined by the way the roles were presented. Therefore, in order to understand its meaning, you should know that the purpose of this experiment from the very beginning was to evoke the experience of working and living in a brutal and cruel prison. (supervisor of the research team) was arranged; At the same time, shortly after concluding and stopping this study, he described the conditions of each prisoner in the experiment in a presentation meeting to his colleagues at Stanford. Dr. Zimbardo admitted that each man was carefully fingerprinted and physically searched, and after being washed with anti-lice liquid, he was given a special prison uniform! They were given numbers instead of names and a heavy chain was tied near their ankles so that they would not forget that they were prisoners! Also rubber sandals and a hat Tights made of nylon were among the other items given to the prisoners.

Besides these items, Zimbardo explained that although real male prisoners do not wear clothes, in this experiment we made them feel humiliated and uncomfortable. It is created in subjects using a uniform dress without any underwear. Also, instead of shaving people's hair, tight and nylon hats were used! At the same time, prison guards experimented with khaki-colored clothes, whistles, guns, and mirrored sunglasses (to avoid eye contact), inspired by the prison guards in the movie "Cool Hand Luke". The cases of prison guards were acting on a moment-to-moment basis without explicit instructions, but you should know that this did not mean that they were completely autonomous! The prison guards were not allowed to beat the prisoners. The purpose of this work was for the research team to show the prison guards what position they are in! Also, prison guards have to take the individuality of people in different ways so that the prisoners feel weak, powerless and miserable. It is interesting to know that Dr. Zimbardo himself participated in this experiment and played the role of the prison warden.

In most cases, the prison guards acted on a moment-to-moment basis without explicit instructions, they could humiliate people but they were not allowed to. Beat the prisoners!

In this regard, when there were differences between a prisoner and the prison guards and the situation between these people got out of control, the subjects waited for a message from the research supervisors. But the reviewer's opinion was quite clear, that's fine too, keep up the good work! In fact, the lack of feedback from the observers could give the subjects the feeling that their work is correct! Also, the presence of people who were watching the incident could be considered as a kind of encouragement to continue the violent behavior. Is. He mentions that in high school, he was a drama and role-playing teacher, and doing such things is not so new to him; He also admitted that he was interested in getting into his role and seeing how far he could go! that the participants in this study were normal people (which they were and they were considered healthy and normal people), but it should be noted that this group was self-selected people who were asked for a newspaper advertisement about a psychological study on life They had announced their readiness in prison.

In 2007, two psychologists named Thomas Carnahan and Sam McFarland recreated the Stanford test advertisement with the difference that in one of the advertisements the words They removed life in prison. These two psychologists found that the people who responded positively to each of these advertisements had a different psychological approach to each other. This means that those who thought they were participating in a psychological study about life in prison had significantly higher levels of aggression, authoritarianism, narcissism, and social dominance, and scored lower in altruistic and empathic measures than the other group. /p>

Furthermore, even in that self-selected sample, behavioral patterns were not homogeneous and uniform. In fact, much of this study hinged on the idea that subjects would largely abandon their individual identities in order to perform the roles of obedient prisoners and authoritarian prison guards. But, during the experiment, the subjects did not behave as they were supposed to! While some subjects were ruthless prison guards, others were hesitant to use harsh tactics. Some did not want to participate in other annoying games and even some prison guards were kind to the prisoners, and this issue bothered Zimbardo and his team. On the other hand, one of the prisoners named Richard Yacco remembers that on the second day in Stanford prison, there was a riot and the prisoners blocked the cell door with their beds and refused to come out and did not do any of the work that the prison guards asked them to do. They said they wouldn't.

While some subjects were ruthless prison guards, others were hesitant to use harsh tactics. Some did not want to participate in other annoying games and even some prison guards were kind to the prisoners!

So what emerges from the details of this experiment is definitely not a clear picture but a vague watercolor painting. In general, it is true that some prison guards and prisoners behaved in cruel and alarming ways, but it is also important that the environmental conditions and people's perception of encouraging such behaviors in that role caused this group of actions. It is interesting to know that Dr. Zimbardo himself explains about the details and nature of the Stanford prison experiment that only about a third of the prison guards had autocratic and autonomous behavior, which in the statistical population of the experiment was about four people in total. Been; Therefore, such points may question the conclusion about the change in the behavior of ordinary people in different situations such as prison. /2210/25348-3.jpg" class="content-pics" alt="BingMag.com The Stanford Prison Experiment is one of the scariest psychological experiments" title="BingMag.com The Stanford Prison Experiment is one of the scariest psychological experiments" loading="lazy">

Of course, regarding the publication of such a result, Dr. Zimbardo and his statement about the experiment are partly to blame, because in October 1971, very soon after the completion of the study and before Publishing a cognitively accurate result, Zimbardo was asked to testify about the prison experiment. In such a case, his dramatic statements, even after the full description of the Stanford prison experiment, allowed the listeners to consider the environmental coercion more exaggerated. He described being a prison guard. But besides that, he emphasized that the prison guards were not given specific instructions and they could do anything to maintain law and order. Also, in explaining the results, he admitted that the majority of the participants were no longer able to separate themselves from the role, which warrants further investigation. Therefore, this experiment, like any other scientific experiment, needs accurate answers to the questions of the scientific community, reproducibility, examination of the test conditions and psychological analyzes to prove that the results can be cited.

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