A Study Of Prisoners And Guards In A Simulated Prison Sociology 101 Term Paper

1324 words - 6 pages

Seth Reinhard
12/14/17
SOC 101.006
“A Study of Prisoners and Guards in a Simulated Prison” by Philip Zimbardo
Analyze and summarize a selected professional paper/scholarly work based on the research
model as discussed in chapter 5
Selecting a Topic:
The topic on the paper I chose looks at the relationship between how people’s attitudes
and actions change in different situations. Zimbardo’s study composed of 24 male college
students who were paid $15 per day to take part in the prison experiment. Zimbardo aimed to
investigate how rapidly people would conform to the separate roles of guard and prisoner in a
simulated prison life. Zimbardo randomly assigned each participant to either the role of a prison
guard or a prisoner. With two reserves in place (due to one participant dropping out), Zimbardo
had ten prisoners and 11 guards. Zimbardo also wanted to see if the reported brutality of prisons
in the U.S. is due to the personality of the guards (a dispositional factor) or of the environment of
the prison (a situational factor). Zimbardo planned on observing the attitudes the “guards” and
“prisoners” in a makeshift prison that was made in the basement of Stanford University.
Defining the Problem:
Philip Zimbardo and his colleagues were interested in studying the effects on the
president on human behavior – in particular, the psychological impact of improvement. They
conducted a person-centered analysis of human behavior attributes most behavior change,
positive or negative directions, to internal, dispositional features of individuals. They designed a
study that separated the usual dispositional factors of correctional personnel prisoners from
situational factors of character as many prisons. They wanted to determine what prison-like
settings bring up people that are not compounded by would be able to bring into prisons, and
how environments in which those in power can do whatever they want to the powerless without
fear of reprisal—like prison—can corrupt even normal, educated, healthy people.
Reviewing the Literature:
Before Zimbardo could conduct his research, he had defined a baseline for his
hypothesis. Zimbardo found that although the human behavior is almost always a function of the
interaction of person and situation, social psychologists have called attention to the attributional
biases in much of psychology and among the general public that overestimates the importance of
dispositional factors were underestimating situational factors. This “fundamental attribution
error” leads to a misrepresentation of both causal determinants it means for modifying
undesirable behavior patterns. Zimbardo’s prison experiment hypothesis can be traced back to
the research done and found by Stanley Milgram in 1974, which was one of the earliest
demonstrations of the extent to which a large sample of ordinary American citizens could be lead
to blindly obey on just authority and delivering extreme levels of shock to an innocent “victim.”
Formulating a...

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