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A Critique Of The Stanford Experiment

561 words - 2 pages

A Critique Of the Stanford Experiment'The Education of a Torturer' is an account of experiments that has similar resultsto that of Milgram's obedience experimentsthat were performed in 1963. Though bothexperiments vary drastically, both have one grim outcome, that is that, 'it is ordinarypeople, not psychopaths, who become the Eichmanns of history.'The Stanford experiment was performed by psychologists Craig Haney, W. CurtisBanks, and Philip Zimbardo. Their goal was to find out if ordinary people could becomeabusive if given the power to do so. The results of the six day experiment are chilling. Theexperiment took ordinary college students and had some agree to be prisoners and the restwould be guards for the prisoners. Both groups received no training on what to do or actlike. They had to get all of their knowledge of what to do from outside sources, such astelevision and movies. The guards were given uniforms and night sticks and told to actlike an ordinary guard would. The prisoners were treated like normal criminals. Theywere finger printed and booked, after that they were told to put on prison uniforms andthen they were thrown into the slammer (in this case a simulated cellblock in thebasement was used). All of the participants in this experiment at first were thought to besimilar in behavior but after one week, all of that changed. The prisoners became'passive, dependent, and helpless.' The guards on the other hand were the exactopposite. They became 'aggressive and abusive within the prison, insulting and bullyingthe prisoners.'After the experiment was finished, many of the mock guards said that they enjoyedthe power. Others said that they had no idea that they were...

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