Stanford Prison Experiment

In: Historical Events

Submitted By lj01043
Words 543
Pages 3
Most people believe and have heard that they are a product of their own environment, but what happens when you take those people out of their environment? The Stanford Prison Experiment of 1971 set out to explain what happens when you put people in an evil place. The six day experiment transformed modern college students into prison guards and prisoners in a mock prison. The study found that when you put people into a new environment they can quickly internalize new roles and forget their old roles.
“Although people experience a great deal of socialization in role playing and role taking during childhood, this social guidance continues also in later life. Individuals learn new roles and abandon old ones as they pass through their life cycles and encounter new situations (Clinard and Meier, 2011). 24 male students were selected to participate and were randomly assigned roles of prison guards and prisoners. None of the participants had prior experience in their new role. Guards were required to wear uniforms and one way shades to hide emotion. Prisoners fad to wear dresses, stocking caps, and chains on their right foot. Only a day went by before the guards and the prisoners fell into authoritarian and submissive roles, respectively after a prisoner rebellion took place.
“Social behavior develops not only through responses to the expectations of others, which force one to confront their norms, but also through social interactions, which lead one to anticipate others’ responses and incorporate them into one’s own conduct (Clinard and Meier, 2011). After the prisoner rebellion was quelled by force with fire extinguishers and prisoner separation, the guards decided they would use psychological control to keep the prisoners in line as opposed to physical control. The guards began by rewarding prisoners who did not participate in the rebellion with high quality food. As…...

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