Perspectives and Theories in Psychology
PS124 - Unit 5 Assignment
The Stanford Prison experiment was a study done in 1971 by psychologist Philip Zimbardo. The idea was to set up a fake prison they had 24 volunteers that were picked at random to be either a prisoner or a prison guard. The prisoner would be there 24 hours a day and the guards would work 8 hour shifts and go home to their normal life. This experiment was supposed to run two weeks but was stopped after only 6 days because the guards had started being abusive treating the prisoners in very dehumanizing ways as well as being hostile. In reaction to the situation the prisoners were getting depressed and showing signs of stress. In fact five of the prisoners had to leave the study early due to their emotional state.
Zimbardo himself was acting as the prison warden had even overlooked the abuse that the guards had shown towards the prisoners. A majority of the people involved including the researchers seemed to have forgotten what they were really there for.
This experiment showed that when put in a position of power the individuals that were chose to be the guards abused that power and behaved in ways they would not have done in their normal life. The prisoners being in an environment where they were no longer in control of their life became depressed and unresponsive. This study shows that a situation such as this plays a really powerful role in human behavior. (Kendra, Cherry 2011).
Psychologist describe consciousness as our awareness of ourselves and our environment. This awareness let us collect information from many sources as we consider our past and think about the future. It keeps our focus as we learn a complicated concept or behavior. (David, G. Myers, 2014). I think this did have an impact on the behavior of the subjects involved in this experiment. The prisoners were probably not in a state of mind that would let them think clearly...