Zimbardo Prison Experiment
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: