- Social psychology questions
- Conformity and groupthink
- Conformity and obedience
- Asch conformity studies (Asch line studies)
- Events that inspired the Milgram studies on obedience
- Milgram experiment on obedience
- What can we learn from the Milgram experiment
- Zimbardo prison study The Stanford prison experiment
- A closer look at the Stanford prison experiment
- Factors that influence obedience and conformity
- Bystander effect
- Social facilitation and social loafing
- Agents of socialization
- Socialization questions
A closer look at the Stanford prison experiment
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- Did any other viewers see similarities in the behavior of the participants in this study and real life experiences in military basic training or fraternity hazing activities? There is incredible power to change human behavior, based on roles that we assume and group dynamics. At6:06, Brooke asks, "And I have to think, what kind of student willingly signs up to be put in a prison either as a guard or a prisoner for two full weeks?" As a retired US Air Force officer with over 22 years of service, including Viet Nam and Desert Storm, I would add, "What kind of person willingly signs up for 4 or more YEARS, to be put in an organization that physically and psychologically demands total obedience and can even order him/her to go into situations that are potentially lethal to themselves and/or others?" The Marines are still looking for a few good men and so are the fraternities that degrade and abuse potential applicants in order to test their worthiness of elite membership.(24 votes)
- Well also remember that the participants who signed up may have been allured by the promise of monetary compensation, as well as the concept that it only was a study. I participated in a study just recently (which by no means was as extreme as this one) but the idea of monetary compensation and the knowledge that it only was a study made me think that I could put some time aside in my day to be a participant. Key idea here: I didn't necessarily think it was good or wanted to participate, I just didn't think it was harmful if I did so. The same mental process might have taken place in the Zimbardo participants.(5 votes)
- You think people read a consent form??(21 votes)
- What would have happened if they switched roles half way through?(9 votes)
- I think the outcome would be very different if it was a study that included females... or literally anyone other than middle class male college students(7 votes)
- When we were taught about this experiment in class, the idea of "role playing" was emphasized in the development of actions from the guards/prisoners. Is this the same as internalization described in the video?(2 votes)
- I feel as if the Zimbardo Study was low key him trying to scare or control the subjects involved(1 vote)
- 0:14, I've seen speculation and theory on how this experiment may have gone differently if it were a co-ed group, or all female students, and this experiment seems to tell us how white, middle class, men would act in this situation. Are these fair statements? Are there any other studies to either support or deny these ideas?(1 vote)
- At6:05isn't she blaming the participants of the study for even participating in the study? She was talking about how the guards blamed the prisoners (victims), but then she engaged in victim-blaming behavior herself in the same video.
There could be many reasons why students decided to participate in the study. Why do people travel to other continents? Maybe they're curious and want new experiences, also the participants were paid on top of that. Maybe they wanted to help further research knowledge by participating in the study.
Victim-blaming is really problematic, especially if the perpetrators try to blame and degrade the victims.(0 votes)
- Not really victim-blaming.
She said, "either as a guard or a prisoner".
It's a genuine question that anyone can ask. I was wondering the same thing. Who has the time to throw away two full weeks on someone's research acting as a prisoner or a guard?(4 votes)
- The whole experiment seems like a big show, something Zimbardo would have intended to be popularized but not really say anything about psychology.(0 votes)
- Clearly they all just forgot they were in an experiment. Aka they lack the ability to judge relevant information(0 votes)
- I want to take a moment to talk a little bit about the Zimbardo prison study, and what conclusions we can draw from it. But first, I want you to remember that all of the participants were the same, or very similar, when they walked in. They were all college students, and they all had the same middle-class background, and they had all been screened for any kind of physical or psychological conditions before the start of the study. And I also wanted to talk about the prison itself. After watching my previous video, I thought that it maybe gave the impression that the prisoners banded together and helped each other out. And while there were a few instances of this behavior, it really wasn't the norm. In reality, the prisoners were pretty distrustful of each other. They saw each other as informants. And the guards' unequal treatment really didn't encourage solidarity. They tended to reward those who they saw as good prisoners by giving them different privileges, like better food. And by allowing them to keep their mattresses and to wash themselves, or brush their teeth after they had punished the rebellious prisoners by taking those things away. And by giving privileges to some inmates and not others, the guards really broke any solidarity that the prisoners had. I also want to note that while there were a number of participants in the prisoner condition that were released from the experiment because of emotional trauma, none of the prisoners ever just stopped and left. And they must have been aware that they were able to do so at least on some level, because it was told to them at the beginning of the experiment. It was in the consent form that they signed. But they didn't. And this always really confused me. And it's possible that maybe some of them misunderstood and didn't think that they could leave. Maybe they somehow convinced each other to stay. Or maybe they knew that they could leave, but they didn't want to forfeit any of the money that they were going to get for the experiment. It really isn't clear. But I just want to point out that while these participants were being treated like prisoners, they were not actually prisoners. They were volunteers who could have left at any point. Now let's talk a little bit about the guards. One question afterwards about why the had treated the prisoners so harshly, especially in the face of the prisoners' emotional distress, many of them said that they thought that the prisoners were just faking it, or that they were wimps. Or that they deserved it because they were troublemakers. But really most of them didn't think that their behavior was all that extreme. And they placed basically all of the blame for their behavior on the prisoners. I mentioned this before in the last video, but while a number of the prisoners left the study before the six days were up, none of the guards left. And in fact, some of them were even upset that the experiment ended early. And you might be wondering if there was any kind of personality trait that might explain why people behave the way that they did in the study. And Zimbardo wondered that too. And it turned out that there wasn't. As far as any of the measures that they used could tell, there was no one, easy to define factor that caused people to act like they did. What do we learn from all of this? Well, what it really shows us is the influence that situations can have on our behavior. And that much of what we do might be the result of situational attribution, or the environment or situations that we're put in. Even more than dispositional attribution, or the internal characteristics or personalities that people have. It also shows us that it becomes much easier to behave badly towards individuals who suffer from deindividuation, or the loss of self. Which in this case was brought on by a number of things. By the prisoners being forced to dress in the same smock, and by making them be addressed as a number instead of their name. It also shows us that bad behavior can result from cognitive dissonance. That the guards, knowing on some level that their behavior was inappropriate, sought to decrease their dissonance, or their mental distress, by overly justifying their behaviors. By saying that everything happened because the prisoners were wimps and that they were faking it, or that they deserved this. The study also shows us about the rule of internalization. Because it seemed like the participants really internalized their prison roles. They incorporated this role into their beliefs, and let it influence their attitudes, cognitions, and behaviors. But as important as the study is, and as well-known as it is, there are a number of problems with the study. And I think the most interesting problem stems from the role that Zimbardo himself played in the study. Specifically, he decided to make himself the prison warden in order to better observe the behaviors of the inmates. But by doing so, by placing himself within the situation, he inadvertently compromised his objectivity. He wasn't a neutral observer. And in the end, he was so involved that he wasn't able to realize when things had gone too far. And so he passively allowed a lot of unethical behavior to occur. In fact, when he was questioned as to why he didn't stop the experiment earlier, when the prisoners started to break down, he himself claimed that he thought that they were just faking it in order to get released. Which is exactly what the guards had said. Another problem is that as far as study methodologies go, this isn't really a good experiment. What were the operational definitions of his dependent and independent variables? What were his dependent and independent variables? What is being manipulated? What is being measured? What were the controls in the study? It also had a really small sample size. Would he have gotten different results if different people were involved? Well, we can't exactly replicate it, so it's sort of hard to know. The study is also a great example of how demand characteristics might influence a study. And this term refers to how much of the participants' behavior might have been influenced by how they thought the experimenters wanted them to behave. Either consciously or unconsciously. And so it's possible that all of the participants in the study, at least on some level, were just acting the way that they thought that Zimbardo wanted them to act. The study is also one that could've been greatly effected by selection bias. Really, here more than most studies. Because there was no deception in the study, so in some ways, the participants all knew exactly what they were signing up for. And I have to think, what kind of student willingly signs up to be put in a prison, either as a guard or a prisoner, for two full weeks? I can think of a lot of better ways that someone could spend their time. And so whenever I think about this study, I just have to ask, even though they did lots of psychological tests, was this really a random sample? What do all of these things mean for the experiment? Are these problems bad enough to discredit its results? I personally don't think so. And that's because its results line up with other studies on conformity and obedience that had much stricter methodologies. But even so, I think it's really important to keep all of these things in mind, not just for the Zimbardo study, but for any study that we see that seems to have really extreme results.