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Stanford Prison Study Analysis

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Chapter two of your text describes The Stanford Prison Study done by Philip Zimbardo in the early 1970s. After reading the outcome of the experiment discuss with your classmates how Zimbardo's findings apply to similar real-life events happening today. Be sure to find and present examples of the concepts introduced in the experiment in your discussion.

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Solution Summary

The solution is a comprehensive 1,034-word narrative that examines and discusses real-life related events to the The Stanford Prison Study by Philip Zimbardo in the 70's. Ethics and behaviour are analysed in relation to role play and actual real-life roles (i.e. Guantanamo Bay & Abu Ghraib prison dynamics as well as child rebellion). A word version of the solution is attached for easy printing. References are listed to allow students room for further research.

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The Zimbardo Stanford Prison Experiment, 1971

Famous for its controversial tactics, outcomes and ethical considerations, the implications of the results of the experiment were manifold. First off, the students who volunteered for either roles guard/prisoner took on the roles given openly and it was found out that since rules are in place, the psychology of isolation and the responsibility of imposing rules despite the 'mock' situation under the authority of Zimbardo's academic institution meant that whatever roles students took - guard or prisoner, a prison situation that was all too real with traumatic and psychosis inducing results happened. The guards had to step up with the varied ways of punishment as well as prisoner relations to keep order and the prisoners reacted angrily, violently and some had broken down completely subjected to the walls of a prison as well as what they saw as 'dehumanizing' situations that sought to humiliate and erase individuality. Since they were 'taken' without warning, the shock was so far more evident in some. And since the reaction was too strong in 'prisoners', the guards slowly took on a 'sadistic' and determined expression of their roles, events not anticipated or even expected by Zimbardo and his colleagues being that the situation was openly known as a 'mock event'. Mock as it was, the psychoses that resulted in both groups - prisoners and guards were so relatively real due to the imposition of the rules in roles and the system.

In real life, role playing among children creates ...

Solution provided by:
  • MPhil/PhD (IP), Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • MA, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • Certificate, Geva Ulpan (via Universita Tel Aviv)
  • BA, University of the Philippines
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