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Zimbardos Stanford Prison Experiment - Report Example

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This report "Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment" examines the SPE in the context of more recent research to show that the SPE made a huge contribution to this field of psychology and opened up a new dynamic of assessing and understanding situational influences on behavior.  …
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Zimbardos Stanford Prison Experiment
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Download file to see previous pages The purpose of this essay is to examine the SPE in the context of more recent research (such as the BBC Prison Experiment []) to show that, whilst there are definite methodological considerations to make, the SPE made a huge contribution to this field of psychology and opened up a new dynamic of assessing and understanding situational influences on behavior.
Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment was conducted in 1971 and was originally intended to help uncover some of the psychological aspects of the conflict between military guards and prisoners (Zimbardo, 2004). The experiment consisted of 24 male participants who were selected by Zimbardo from a group of volunteers for having good physical and mental health (Zimbardo, 1975). These participants were then randomly assigned roles, termed ‘prisoner’ and ‘guard’, in a mock prison setting at Stanford University, and were then observed to obtain results about what would happen in this situation. Many of the participants adapted to their role extremely quickly, with prison guards becoming militant and authoritarian in their actions, and prisoners staging a revolt (Zimbardo, 1975). These results, whilst having some methodological considerations, shocked the world of social psychology, and many members of the public due to the release of films showing parts of the experiment.
One of the conclusions of the infamous SPE was that a legitimizing ideology is a great behavioral adapter because it can justify previously unappealing actions for a greater good (Zimbardo, 1975). This conclusion helps to establish why situational influences on behavior can explain many of the horrific events of the 20th century, and perhaps even before that (Zimbardo, 2007). Rationalizing a behavior by adapting it to a worldview is thought to be common in human behavior, and several studies have reinforced this idea (e.g. Brady & Logsdon, 1988). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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