Sample Essay

This type of intense method shows that the prisoners were demoralized from the onset whilst still in their own environment and taken into the laboratory setting (the prison). From the beginning, the ‘prisoners’ did not know that this was going to happen. It could be asked, why did the ‘prisoners’ not rebel at being arrested? Perhaps the reason for this was that in the 1970’s authority was taken very seriously and that authority did rule. The different social roles and the positions of authority were well respected in the era of 1970s making it against the rules o object to the arrest by the prisoners. In fact the basic human rights of the prisoners regarded them as innocent until proven guilty but the prisoners assumed themselves to be guilty and did not demand right to bail or taking the issue into court.

Once these volunteers were place in the prison setting, Zimbardo observed the activities of groups, prisoners and guards, to see how they adapted to their roles and how this associated with their self conception as group members. The prisoners of Zimbardo’s study conformed to their role, at first they were shocked with the brutality showed by Zimbardo’s guards. However, they went along with norm of the in-group with the desire to be accepted and not rejected as an undesirable out-group person. The brutality of Zimbardo’s guards could be described in terms of perceived social roles, the volunteers were told to behave in accordance with their perception of their role, be that guard or prisoner. This showed the increase in de-individualization through their ability to cast aside personal norms and act out socially expected behavior.

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Essay: Analysis of Zimbardo’s Experiment
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