Sample Essay

This is the most recent study that has been conducted into conformity; the foundation for this study was not to simulate but to identify flaws in Zimbardo’s (1973) experiment.

Reicher and Haslam recruited volunteers to investigate how human beings conform to roles; newspaper advertising was carried out under the heading ‘how well do you know yourself’, it asked for volunteers to participate in a social science experiment, which would then be broadcasted on television. The volunteers like Zimbardo’s experiment put into two groups; prisoners and guards. A total of 15 volunteers were randomly selected to either be prisoners or be guards.

The documentary series of the experiment was properly documented by placing television cameras in the place of the experiment to record all proceedings and to make the guards aware of the responsibility of their actions in the future. Aside form this the prisoners themselves were more aware of their human rights and tended to be rebellious against the guards instead of simply conforming to the social roles as expected of them while playing the role of the prisoners. The effects of tyranny in the form of powerlessness were observed in the experiment by Haslam and Reicher. “Powerlessness is far more psychologically damaging than power. The more powerless people become, the more alluring authoritarian and tyrannical views become; the prisoners suffered from a lack of an ordered regime. The challenge is to provide order without tyranny, for if there is no order people will accept tyranny as second best.” (Crace, 2002)

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Essay: Reicher and Haslam’s experiment discussed
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