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Stanford Prison Experiment by Philip Zimbardo

and anthropology from Brooklyn College in 1954  Completed his M.D.Philip George Zimbardo  Born on March 23. 1933 in New York City  Completed his BA with a triple major in psychology. (1959) in psychology from Yale University  Joined the faculty of Stanford University in 1968  Known for his Stanford prison study and authorship of various psychology books for college students. including The Lucifer Effect and The Time Paradox . sociology. (1955) and Ph.S.

Understanding How Good People Turn Evil .


 It explains the Lucifer Effect in terms of the cosmic transformation of God's favorite angel.Overview of the Book  The Lucifer Effect raises a fundamental question about the nature of human nature. into Satan as he challenges God's authority. along with considering its ethics and extensions: conformity.  It provides a detailed chronology of the transformations in human character that took place during the Stanford Prison experiment that randomly assigned healthy. normal intelligent college students to play the roles of prison or guard in a projected 2 weeklong study. .  It outlines the lessons and messages from the Stanford study. obedience to authority. role-playing and dehumanization. Lucifer.

. “The Lucifer Effect” represents this most extreme transformation imaginable from God’s favorite Angel into the Devil. It was coined after God’s favorite angel. normal person first crosses the boundary between good and evil to engage in an evil action. Lucifer.Why “Lucifer Effect”? The “Lucifer Effect” describes the point in time when an ordinary. Thus.

Factors Leading to Lucifer Effect Conformity Obedience to Authority Role-playing Dehumanization Situational Factors .

This influence occurs in small groups and/or society as a whole. and behaviors to what individuals perceive as normal to their society or social group. or direct and overt social pressure.Conformity Conformity is the act of matching attitudes. beliefs.  There are two main types of conformity: informational and normative. and may result from subtle unconscious influences. .

such as one known as "John Wayne". Normative conformity is the dominant form of social conformity when we are concerned about making a good impression in front of a group.Conformity Informative conformity often occurs in situations in which there is high uncertainty and ambiguity. changed their behavior because of wanting to conform to the behavior that Zimbardo was trying to elicit. we are likely to shape our behavior to match that of others. certain guards. In an unfamiliar situation. In the experiment. .

Strength of tendency to obey comes from systematic socialization of society members that obedience constitutes correct conduct. Tendency to respond to "symbols and signs of authority" rather than to its substance. .Obedience to Authority According to Stanley Milgram. people obey either out of fear or out of a desire to appear cooperative – even when acting against their own better judgment and desires.

. The participants based their behavior on how they were expected to behave. participants internalized these roles as the experiment continued. either unconsciously to fill a social role. or modelled it after stereotypes they already had about the behavior of prisoners and guards.Role-playing Refers to the changing of one's behaviour to assume a role. or consciously to act out an adopted role. Zimbardo claimed that even if there was role-playing initially.

One of the central processes in the transformation of ordinary. as non comparable in humanity or personal dignity to those who do the labelling. normal people into indifferent or even wanton perpetrators of evil. are depicted as less than human. . Dehumanization is like a “cortical cataract” that clouds one’s thinking and fosters the perception that other people are less than human.Dehumanization Certain people or collectives of them.

of good people pitted against the forces inherent in bad situations was evident from everyday life that smart people made dumb decisions when they were engaged in mindless groupthink.  When people are faced with situations unfamiliar to them.  Many people who engage in actions that could be deemed evil are more likely to be ordinary people caught up in behavioral contexts that are unfamiliar.”  The direct confrontation of good versus evil. they tend to respond using the best option which is to ride the flow of the situation.Situational Factors  It is a truism in psychology that personality and situations interact to generate behavior. . and in which their habitual response patterns and moral judgments become “disengaged.


Conducted from August 14–20.Stanford Prison Experiment Study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. Funded by a grant from the US Office of Naval Research and was of interest to both the US Navy and Marine Corps in order to determine the causes of conflict between military guards and prisoners. 1971 by a team of researchers led by psychology professor Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University. .

Out of 75 respondents. . They were all signed up to participate in a 7 to 14 day period and receive $15 per day (equivalent to $80 in 2010). Zimbardo and his team selected the 24 males whom they deemed to be the most psychologically stable and healthy.Goals and Methods Zimbardo and his team set out to test the idea that the inherent personality traits of prisoners and guards were summarily key to understanding abusive prison situations.

and a bigger room across from the prisoners for the guards and warden. There was a small space for the prison yard. The guards worked in teams of three for eight-hour shifts. solitary confinement. The guards did not have to stay on site after their shift. .Set-up The small mock prison cells were set up to hold three prisoners each. The prisoners were to stay in their cells all day and night until the end of the study.


 Zimbardo aborted the experiment early when Christina Maslach objected to the appalling conditions of the prison after she was introduced to the experiment to conduct interviews.  Zimbardo says. but officials there said they could no longer participate in Zimbardo's experiment.Results  After a relatively uneventful first day. to curse. "#8612 then began to act crazy. Zimbardo and the guards attempted to move the prisoners to the more secure local police station. It took quite a while before we became convinced that he was really suffering and that we had to release him. a riot broke out on the second day. to scream.“  On the fourth day. to go into a rage that seemed out of control.  After only 36 hours. one prisoner began to act "crazy“. . some prisoners were talking about trying to escape.

.Conclusion The results of the experiment are said to support situational attribution of behavior rather than dispositional attribution. it seemed the situation caused the participants' behavior. rather than anything inherent in their individual personalities. In other words.

 Additionally. his briefing of the guards gave them a clear sense that they should oppress the prisoners.  In contrast to Zimbardo's claim that participants were given no instructions about how to behave. . The experiment was criticized as being unethical and unscientific.  Conclusions and observations drawn by the experimenters were largely subjective and anecdotal. showing that experiments on paper can look very different from the way that they play out in reality. and the experiment would be difficult for other researchers to reproduce.Criticisms  This study was cleared by the Ethics Code of the American Psychological Association. the study has been criticized on the basis of ecological validity.

psychological. and sexual abuse of prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq (also known as Baghdad Correctional Facility) came to public attention. . which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience.Milgram’s Experiment and Abu Ghraib Prison Torture STANLEY MILGRAM’S EXPERIMENT  A series of notable social psychology experiments conducted by psychologist Stanley Milgram. ABU GHRAIB PRISON TORTURE  In 2004.  These acts were committed by military police personnel of the United States Army together with additional US governmental agencies. human rights violations in the form of physical.

Abu Ghraib Prison Torture Milgram’s Experiment .