The education of a torturer a critique of the stanford experiment

Philip zimbardo

The experiment itself may be shocking, but the way it echoes archetypal stories of sinfulness make it hard to shake off. Eshelman said he tapped into his own experiences in a brutal fraternity hazing a few months earlier. A former graduate student and friend of Professor Zimbardo, Christina Maslach they had just started dating stopped by the experiment to check on him and was horrified with what she saw : I thought, "Oh my God, what happened here? They are presented with a card with a single black line, then shown another card with three black lines of varying length. After only 35 hours, one prisoner began to act "crazy", as Zimbardo described: " then began to act crazy, to scream, to curse, to go into a rage that seemed out of control. There is no experiment that can prove who we are but, in its particulars, art can speak in universals. Zimbardo achieved a great deal of fame for this effort. Since the research was to involve people, it had to and was approved by the Stanford Human Subjects Committee. For more information, please visit www. He was a leader of the guards on the night shift in Abu Ghraib Prison, all of whom participated in brutalizing Iraqi prisoners. For example, juveniles accused of federal crimes are no longer housed before trial with adult prisoners, due to the risk of violence against them. It seems that Maverick Entertainment, riding shotgun with Zimbardo, is repeating historical folly and dramatic contrivance of the worst kind. We're going to take away their individuality in various ways.

They didn't get into the guard mentality. In my view, that is the major flaw of the SPE; it had no independent scientific observer of the unfolding events.

zimbardo 1973 citation

For one thing, Zimbardo openly sought subjects for a two-week, immersive experiment on prison life. This was the significant test he was looking for.

And unfortunately, he got his wish. He did so by punishing prisoners repeatedly with extensive push-ups occasionally, with some prisoners stepping on the back of otherslimiting food access, or issuing arbitrary rules.

From my perspective, the range of guard behaviors undercuts any criticisms of the alleged demand characteristics that presumably distorted the results of the SPE. Zimbardo noted that, of more than 50 people who had observed the experiment, Maslach was the only one who questioned its morality.

McFarland, now retired, got the opportunity in to interview Sergeant Joseph Darby, the former U. The experience made the key players famous — not least because Zimbardo captured some of the experiment on film and in now-familiar photos.

Is the stanford experiment based on a true story

SPE as Pirandellian Prison The opportunity to contribute an article to the New York Times Magazine allowed our research team to present our experience to a larger public audience, rather than limit it to academics only. As an expert witness, I toured the facilities of San Quentin's maximum adjustment center and interviewed each of the six prisoners a number of times. After controversy regarding the ethics of his experiments, Milgram was denied tenure. Regardless, the conclusions Korpi drew from the study in his Quiet Rage interview—17 years after the experience—are fully consistent with my own conclusions: "The Stanford Prison was a very benign prison situation, and it still caused guards to become sadistic [and] prisoners to become hysterical. I began the study as the principal research investigator, in charge of my team of student researchers, all interested in exploring together the dynamics of a unique situation we had created. Could a group, I asked myself, induce a person to act with severity against another person? Nothing's happening. And I want out! On the fourth day, some of the guards stated they heard a rumor that the released prisoner was going to come back with his friends and free the remaining inmates. But once the cross-cultural comparison was quickly deemed irrelevant, why proceed with the experiments? The more we understand all of these dynamics and the complex way they interact with each other, the better we will be at promoting what is best in human nature.

Still, 12 of 40 subjects went all the way. In the footage of the study, Zimbardo can be seen talking to the guards: "You can create in the prisoners feelings of boredom, a sense of fear to some degree, you can create a notion of arbitrariness that their life is totally controlled by us, by the system, you, me, and they'll have no privacy We must find the reason for that through more thorough systems analyses, and propose alternative solutions to incarceration.

Zimbardo fails to note in his acknowledgements that the study was funded by a grant from the US Office of Naval Research.

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