The Stanford prison experiment

The infamous Stanford prison experiment was conducted in 1971 by a team of researchers led by psychology professor Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University. Twenty-four students were selected to play the prisoners and live in a mock prison in the basement of the psychology building. Roles were assigned randomly. The participants adapted to their roles well beyond what even Zimbardo himself expected, leading the “officers” to display authoritarian measures and ultimately to subject some of the prisoners to torture. In turn, many of the prisoners developed passive attitudes and accepted physical abuse, and, at the request of the guards, readily inflicted punishment on other prisoners. The entire experiment was abruptly stopped after only six days and the experimental process and results remain controversial.

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by New Philosopher on January 18, 2014

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