The “Zimbardo Prison Experiment”, also known as the “Stanford prison experiment”, was a famous experiment that was conducted in 1971 by Psychology Professor Philip Zimbardo from Stanford University. What happened in this experiment was that twenty-four undergraduates out of seventy were selected to play the roles of both guards and prisoners in a mock prison setting, which was the basement of the Stanford psychology building. These people, going into the experiment, lacked psychological, crime history, and medical disabilities.
The goal of the experiment? To analyze the reactions of both the mock prisoners and guards over time. Zimbardo was stunned at what he saw. Most prisoners and guards have adapted their surroundings and started acting like real prisoners and guards. The results?
1. 1/3 of the guards were judged to have genuine sadistic tendencies.
2. Many prisoners were emotionally traumatized.
3. Two prisoners have had to leave the experiment early.
The environment the students were creating in this prison had gotten so extreme that Zimbardo had to end the experiment after six days. To read more about the Zimbardo Prison Experiment, check out Wikipedia.org’s article “Stanford prison experiment“. The video below is some footage of the experiment taking place:
What do you do when you hear screams or see someone hurt? Do you call 911, or do you just assume that someone has already done so? I would like you to take a look at the video below. I must warn you though, that the video can be disturbing:
It’s upsetting isn’t it? If that were you, wouldn’t you want someone to call 911 or check to see if you were okay? Of course you would. Did you notice that once that one concerned citizen walked over, everyone else started to come over as well? If that one brave and loyal citizen hadn’t of walked over, who knows when help would’ve be contacted.
The lesson to learn is if you see something, say something. No one is asking you to be a hero, but to contact those that can be the heroes, and if you are in the United States, we all know how you can contact them, 9-1-1.
Pass this article on to spread the message.
This is an interesting psychological experiment for those of you who do not know what the placebo effect is. In a nutshell, someone is tricked into thinking they are obtaining a substance that will better their condition. This is done by simply giving the person a “sugar pill” instead of any particular type of medicine. The effect? Witness the reaction. Psychologically, for a lot of people who have taken the experiment before, they would agree to feel better although the pill is just simply sugar. It is an experiment done to see the psychological processes taking place with substances.
The question I want to ask you now is, since the placebo effect has been shown to work, can we relate this effect to Thomas Szasz’s thoughts on the current medical model? I talked about this in my previous article titled, “The Progress Of Psychology“. Szasz believes that labeling a person with a disorder will simply make them give in and act out all the symptoms of the diagnosed disorder.
This has been a major debate that has been going on throughout the years, Psychology vs. Religion. We may have seen it in the movies, tv shows, or even in the daily newspaper, but what exactly is the debate? Well, for one, Psychologists pretty much believe that everything is in the head and that there are no outside forces that try to control us. Long before Psychology was ever as advanced as it is now, in history, those that were believed to be possessed by evil spirits bore a hole in the skull to relieve pressure or to release the spirits. They called this trephining. Seems very extreme, doesn’t it? Back then it didn’t seem that all too crazy. Probably the most famous illustration of Psychology vs. Religion would be in the movie, The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
I believe that Psychology is advanced to the point where we can prevent these foolish acts like having a skull in the brain or declaring someone a witch for being abnormal, but can we go further? How can Psychology disprove the spiritual world? I guess only time will tell for this debate.