Stanford Prison Experiment Essay

Length: 3 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Criminal Justice Type: Essay Paper: #35508963 Related Topics: Prisons, Peer Pressure, Protest, Deception
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Stafford Prison Experiment is a study and film based on the study detailing the psychological effects people undergo when becoming a prison guard or prisoner. Stanford University held the conduction of the experiment from August 14-20 in 1971. Psychology professor Philip Zimbardo led a team of researchers for the study and funding came from the U.S. Office of Naval Research. The Marin Corps and the U.S. Navy had interest in investigating the causes of conflict among prisoners and military guards. The study offers class examination on the psychology of imprisonment allowing students taking introductory psychology to learn.

The value of the study in relation to social psychology

In 1971 America, college students began protesting against the government. They had enough of the way the government acted on behalf of the country and decided to take action. The protest seemed anti-authority and pro-peace. It marked a significant period in the United States where the youth took action. History shows (in countries all over the world) people take action...


It showed how, regardless of distinct characteristics, people became their roles. They adopted a new identity along with their individual identity. People in a way then became puppets for others in power and in control.

The relevance of the study in relation to contemporary world issues

Some circumstances exert dominant influences over persons and individuals. These influences cause people to behave in manners and ways they ordinarily would not. There is no way to predict in advance the kind of transformation. Studies like these provide insight into why people do the things they do when they assume these positions within an organization like the military or law enforcement or as criminals.

It also provides a further look into situational power, how it involves uncertainty of role boundaries. "Because situational power is often confounded with sociocultural group status, the cognitive biases of individuals who hold positions of relative situational power also serve to maintain existing social stratification…during interactions between members of stigmatized and nonstigmatized groups members of dominant groups are more often in power" (Richeson & Ambady, 2003, p. 177). Essentially, good people can be seduced, induced, and initiated into evil behavior from peer pressure and group mentality. A good example of this is the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq where prison guards treated prisoners horribly.

The value of the study in relation to humanity as a whole

When it comes to the participants of the study, they assumed a level of power…

Sources Used in Documents:

References,. (2015). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Retrieved 27 April 2015, from,. (2015). IMPRINTS - Life in Prison: A Loss of Liberty & Identity. Retrieved 27 April 2015, from

Richeson, J., & Ambady, N. (2003). Effects of situational power on automatic racial prejudice. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 39(2), 177-183. doi:10.1016/s0022-1031(02)00521-8

Cite this Document:

"Stanford Prison Experiment" (2015, April 30) Retrieved January 16, 2022, from

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"Stanford Prison Experiment", 30 April 2015, Accessed.16 January. 2022,

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