Zimbardo's Prison Experiment

Zimbardo's Prison Experiment

Zimbardo’s Prison Experiment

The experiment of social behaviour that took place in Stanford University is considered as one of the most unethical studies ever done. But is it really that much unethical, or the society was just shocked by the results?

If we give though to the main ethical consideration that are supposed to be taken before an experiment, Zimbardo's experiment did fulfil all but one - the possible psychological and physical harm of the volunteers. So, if we look at the ethnicity like that, it was not unethical at all. All the participants knew what they are going to be a part of. They were informed that they will spend seven to fourteen days in a mock prison and their behaviour will be watched. Also only the strongest of all the seventy-five candidates were selected to make sure only the ones with the best health and both mental and physical strength will take part. Background check was also done to all the participants to assure the study would not be affected by their past.

Participants had a right of withdrawal as well. Because of the keeping the character of the study – the atmosphere of mock prison – the release was preceded by some procedures. Many ‘prisoners’ forgot about this option in the process of the experiment. They started believe the prison is real and they cannot leave. Only two participants, having a metal breakdown, left the experiment.

Another of the five considerations – confidentiality – was satisfied too. The signature of the participants was needed to release the videos and photos taken during the study. Anonymity was provided to the participants also through the numbers they used instead their names. Despite it was not the original purpose of it; it helped to provide more confidentiality. After the study was finished and evaluated, all the participants received the results, explaining what exactly Zimbardo found out about the human behaviour.

The last of the five considerations is the protection from physical...

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