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Philip George Zimbardo

 Born on March 23, 1933

in New York City
 Nationality : American
 Spouse: Christina
Early Years:
 Brooklyn College in 1954, triple majoring
in psychology, sociology and
 Yale University where he received his
M.A. in 1955 and his Ph.D. in 1959.
Early Years
 Taught at Yale from 1959 to 1960.
 Became a professor of psychology
at New York University, From 1960 to
 Taught at Columbia University from
1967 to 1968.
 Joined the faculty at Stanford
University in 1968.
Known For:
 Stanford prison experiment,
 The Time paradox
 The Lucifer Effect
 Abu Ghraib Analysis
 Time Perspective Therapy
 Social Intensity Syndrome
Stanford Prison Experiment
 The purpose of this study was to
observe what happens when you put
good people in an evil place.

 This study has become a classic

example of the power of social
situations. It analyzes the psychology of
evil and the controls of human feelings.
 Conducted at basement of Jordan Hall
(Stanford's psychology building) on
August 14–20, 1971.
 Funded by the U.S. Office of Naval
 Participants: 24 normal, healthy middle
class students were put in a mock
prison. Some were made "guards" and
others "prisoners".

 The group was intentionally selected to

exclude those with criminal background,
psychological impairments or medical
problems. They all agreed to participate
in a 7–14-day period and received $15
per day (equivalent to $87 in 2015).
Procedure: Debriefing
 The researchers held an orientation session for
guards the day before the experiment, during which
they instructed them not to physically harm the
prisoners. In the footage of the study, Zimbardo can
be seen talking to the guards:
"You can create in the prisoners feelings of
boredom, a sense of fear to some degree, you
can create a notion of arbitrariness that their
life is totally controlled by us, by the system,
you, me, and they'll have no privacy ... We're
going to take away their individuality in various
ways. In general what all this leads to is a
sense of powerlessness. That is, in this
situation we'll have all the power and they'll
have none."
Mock Prison
 Hold 3 prisoners each
 Small space for the prison yard, solitary
confinement, and a bigger room across
from the prisoners for the guards and
 were to stay in their cells all day and
night until the end of the study
 guards worked in teams of three for
eight-hour shifts. The guards did not
have to stay on site after their shift.
 Guards:
 wooden batons to
establish their status.
 clothing similar to that of
an actual prison guard.
 mirrored sunglasses to
prevent eye contact.
 instructed to call
prisoners by their
assigned numbers,
sewn on their uniforms,
instead of by name.
 Prisoners
 uncomfortable ill-
fitting smocks
 stocking caps
 chain around one
 The prisoners were "arrested" at their
homes and "charged" with armed robbery.
The local Palo Alto police department
assisted Zimbardo with the arrests and
conducted full booking procedures on the
prisoners, which
included fingerprinting and taking mug
shots. They were transported to the mock
prison from the police station, where they
were strip searched and given their new
First Night
 Zimbardo started off with nine guards and nine
 the volunteer prisoners were awakened at 2:30
AM by the guards blowing their whistles.
 The prisoners mocked the guards, trying to regain
their individuality.
 The prisoners soon realized that the attitude of
the guards was very serious and that they
demanded obedience.
 The guards used physical punishment and
exercises, such as pushups, in order to show their
authority to the prisoners.
Second Day
 Morning: a rebellion broke out among the volunteer
prisoners. They ripped off their uniforms and locked
themselves in their cells by pushing their beds up against the
 Guards who were not on duty were called in and the guards
who were assigned to only the night shift stayed with the
guards who came in all the way through their shift the next
 The tactic the guards came up with was to fight back in order
to discipline the unruly prisoners and make them obey.
 In response to the prisoners barricading themselves in their
cells, the guards used fire extinguishers on them to get them
away from the entrances.
 stripped the inmates naked, tore apart
the beds and the cell, and put the
prisoners who had started the rebellion
in solitary confinement.
 As all nine guards could not be on duty
at once, they began rewarding the
prisoners for good behavior.
Use of Positive and Negative
 The prisoners who had not been involved
in starting the riot were allowed to lie in
their beds, wash themselves and brush
their teeth and eat while those who had
started the riot were not allowed to.
 In the case of one prisoner, who was a
smoker, the guards were able to control
his behavior because they decided
when and if he was allowed to smoke.
First to withdraw
 Less than two full days
into the experiment, one
inmate began suffering
from depression,
uncontrolled rage,
crying and other mental
dysfunctions. The
prisoner was eventually
released after
screaming and acting
unstable in front of the
other inmates. This
prisoner was replaced
with one of the
Third Day
 allowed visiting hours for friends and
 The visitation was closely monitored
and timed with many rules and
 "drama" was a rumored escape plan
that the prisoners were planning on
carrying out directly after visiting hours.
The “Drama”
 The prisoner was going to have some of his friends
round up, break into the prison and free all of the
prisoners. After one of the guards overheard this
plan, an informant was placed in among the
prisoners and the escape never happened. The
prisoners who had been thought to have organized
the escape were disciplined and harassed with more
pushups and toilet cleaning.
 At some point, even the prisoners who were thought
of as role models, those who obeyed all of the
guards' commands were being punished. Going to
the bathroom was considered a privilege rather than
a necessity, and those who acted out against the
guards were made to urinate and defecate in a
bucket in their cell.
 By the end of the experiment, there was no
unification among prisoners as well as guards.

 Guards also had won complete control over all of

their prisoners and were using their authority to its
greatest extent. One prisoner had even gone as far
as to go on a hunger strike. When he refused to eat,
the guards put him into solitary confinement for three
hours (even though their own rules stated the limit
that a prisoner could be in solitary confinement was
only one hour). Instead of the other prisoners looking
at this inmate as a hero and following along in his
strike, they chanted together that he was a bad
prisoner and a troublemaker.
 People will readily conform to the social
roles they are expected to play, especially
if the roles are as strongly stereotyped as
those of the prison guards. The “prison”
environment was an important factor in
creating the guards’ brutal behavior (none
of the participants who acted as guards
showed sadistic tendencies before the
study). Therefore, the findings support the
situational explanation of behavior rather
than the dispositional one.
 the Stanford Prison Experiment remains an
important study in our understanding of
how the situation can influence human
behavior. The study recently garnered
attention after reports of the Abu Ghraib
prisoner abuses in Iraq became known.
Many people, including Zimbardo himself,
suggest that the abuses at Abu Ghraib
might be real-world examples of the same
results observed in Zimbardo's experiment.
Ethical Considerations
 Lack of fully informed consent
by participants as Zimbardo himself did
not know what would happen in the
experiment (it was unpredictable). Also,
the prisoners did not consent to being
'arrested' at home.
Ethical Considerations
 Beneficence
participants playing the role of prisoners
were not protected from psychological
harm, experiencing incidents of
humiliation and distress. For example,
one prisoner had to be released after 36
hours because of uncontrollable bursts
of screaming, crying and anger.
Ethical Considerations
 Debriefing
Zimbardo did conduct debriefing
sessions for several years afterwards
and concluded they were no lasting
negative effects.