Explore BrainMass

The Stanford Prison Experiment

The Stanford Prison Experiment is a famous study in the field of sociology. .Provide a synopsis of this experiment. Do you believe that you would have acted as most participants did in this experiment? Why or why not? What knowledge was learned from the experiment regarding social interaction and group dynamics? What was the relevance or parallel of this experiment to the study of sociology?

Describe the sociological perspective and the forces of socialization and culture.

Solution Preview

As you assess and reflect upon the famous Stanford Prison Experiment and correlate it with the field of sociology, I offer some ideas to help:

As you first provide a synopsis of this experiment, my thoughts are more of a brainstorming. First of all, I feel that this study exemplifies how even a short amount of time in prison or exposure to evil and corruption changes people drastically in terms of emotionally, behaviorally, socially, etc. For example, the study clearly shows that after only six days, the guards became abusive, and the prisoners became extremely withdrawn, depressed, and disturbed. The experiment also showed physical effects as some of the participants refused to eat or alleged sicknesses.

As you also summarize what happened, you might note that when given numbers and being reduced to that as an identity, it really impacted the participants. The bolted chain also seemed to play a role in psychologically transforming the participants from citizens to prisoners socially, emotionally, and physically. What do you think?

When given the role of guard, the opposite happened, though. Please note the sense of empowerment and entitlement exhibited by the guards with this new power and role.

What is really shocking about this study is that the participants, especially the guards, were not given any vivid instructions about their behaviors or duties. The fact that they were not instructed seems to indicate that this type of behavior is natural in situations set up in this manner. In other words, ot seems like this study ...

Solution Summary

The Stanford Prison Experiment is investigated and relected upon.