The Stanford Prison Experiment on Psychology

The Stanford Prison Experiment was an experiment designed to examine and study the psychological effects of prison on people. They wanted to see what the mental impacts were of turning the people into a prisoner or a correctional officer. In the movie, they imitated the formation of a prison, got a bunch of men to volunteer in doing the experiment without them knowing when it all would take place. They later were able to take note of sudden changes in the behavior of each person within the fake prison; prisoners and correctional officers.

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The conductor of The Stanford Prison Experiment was Philip Zimbardo. Zimbardo was a professor at Stanford University teaching social psychology. Zimbardo gave roles and jobs to each prisoner and correctional officer. Zimbardo soon began to notice slight changes in the correctional officers behavior.; which seemed to be based off the social role that they had. Moreover, he saw how embarrassed the prisoners were based on the clothes they had to wear and the procedures they were given by the correctional officers. With all the power the correctional officers had they began to become corrupt and were really hard on the prisoners. This shows that the mindsets of the correctional officers have been affected by their social role. The correctional officers having the power over the prisoners are boosting their egos and they all are abusing the power.
Furthermore, the prisoners were not just going to take the corruption of the officers. The prisoners soon began to rebel and the officers started to feel like that they were in the right for treating the prisoners the way they were treating them due to the fact that the prisoners were being rebellious. The officers were so corrupt they came to a point were they would not even let the prisoners use the restroom. They made the prisoners do their duties inside of a bucket, and the bucket was not removed from the prisoners cell. The fake prison soon became too dangerous for it to continue. The experiment was ended ways before the expected time for it to end.

The officers took advantage of their roles and treated the inmates worse than they should have been treated. In my opinion, the correctional officers and the prisoners were only in that state of mind due to their roles there in the experiment. I say this because at the beginning of the experiment when they were first threw into the new roles of the experiment the officers were not really sure what they needed to do and the prisoners were not sure how they should act.

Overall, I enjoyed watching the experiment it showed me just how a small change in environment and a small role can change a person within hours. Furthermore, we see things like this daily. Many people who are giving jobs in society today sometimes abuse their power to their advantage or even just to upset someone else; just as the correctional officers were doing. Moreover, this experiment also reminds me of the book and movie Lord of the Flies. In Lord of the Flies many young boys were stranded on a deserted island alone without parents or rules. They then become savages and the system is corrupt they are not living in anything but chaos. Just as the Stanford Prison Experiment had to end early due to the prisoners and officers getting real violent and dangerous, the boys in Lord of the Flies were not able to just end it they had to find ways to survive in a corrupt environment. This proves that behaviors and moods can be based off social roles just as this experiment proved.

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The Stanford Prison Experiment on Psychology. (2020, Aug 27). Retrieved February 5, 2023 , from

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