Sample Essay

The Stanford Prison Experiment by Zimbardo was a physiological study which aimed to investigate the relationship between the prison guards and the prisoners in terms of psychology as well as the social forces that effect and influence their behavior in the setting of a restricted space like a prison. For the study about 24 undergraduates were selected to play the roles of the guards and the prisoners, with an incentive of $15 a day.

Zimbardo aimed to identify how people can change their behavior when expected to be aggressive and behave in a violent manner. The element of role playing and the disassociation by the individuals from oneself due to the disguises, costumes as well as the different prison based accessories was researched upon by Zimbardo as to how it influences the behavior of the people in the experiment and lead to high levels of violence and destructive behavior.

Aside from this Zimbardo also aimed at identifying the different elements which can affect the behavior of the people in different circumstances. He strived to identify how the allotted element of authority and power over others can effect the behavior and the social role conformity for the volunteers acting as guards, while on the other hand he also wanted to determine how being subjected to torture, constrained circumstances and situations as well as an uncomfortable and unfamiliar environment can effect the social roles and behavior of the prisoners. The reaction of the prisoners being rebellion was expected by Zimbardo however, the internalization of the role for the prisoner was a result which was not expected.

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Essay: Stanford Prison Experiment
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