Critique Of Psychological Experiments And Subjects

2118 words - 8 pages

Amponsah 1Richard AmponsahProfessor PecqueurEnglish 12511 April, 2007Critique of Psychological Experiments and SubjectsThere are many problems left unsolved. I know you may be wondering and asking, what are some of these problems. Well, have you ever asked yourself why certain people are made prisoners and guards? From the past to the present, people still remained in correctional authorities. In America, for instance, we are spoiled by the individual freedom and this allows people to do things drastically. I am not saying that individual's right is totally wrong, but how can we understand why people dramatically changed when given certain power. Should we resist tolerable dehumanizing authoritarian and power left them unsolved? Well, at least this is what Zimbardo came to think of and tried to find the root to authoritarianism. He is a psychologist who did an ingenious experiment "The Stanford Prison Experiment" by making a significant approach to understand human behavior base on authoritarian situation in a prison environment. However, he made several mistakes by oversimplying many aspects of his experiment. Therefore his conclusion is invalid.The primarily goal in undertaking the mock prison experiment was "to study the effects of imprisonment upon volunteer research" (Zimbardo, 345). Zimbardo wanted to learn how prisoners and guards resist against one another. He further profiled that those called "prisoners' lose their liberty, civil rights, privacy while those called "guards' gain social power by accepting the responsibility for controlling and managing the lives of their independent charges" (345). With this in mind, Zimbardo placed an ad in a local newspaper to find subjects for his experiment. These subjects were sample of average, middle class, Caucasian, college-age males and one oriented Asian student. The above radical groups of ten prisoners and eleven guards were also emotionally stabled, physically healthy, matured and law abiding citizens. Zimbardo chose this set of homogenous people so that " it is impossible to separate what each individual brings into the prison and what the prison brings out of in each prison"(345).After the presumptions, Zimbardo claimed that there is a "process" of becoming a prisoner (345). This process is through physical and psychological states. Physically, police arrested college male students, handcuffed, charged them with felony and sent them to a nearby police station for booking. There the students had their fingerprints taken and their identifications examined and finally sent off to a secluded "Stanford County Prison", a basement psyche block (346). Within some moment, Jaffe, the Warden visited the prisoners and instituted to them anonymous rules required in the prison. Also Zimbardo thought that real prisoners report feeling powerless, dependent, dehumanized, and emasculated; however it was not ethically to create such chronic state for volunteer but Zimbardo did so by deciding to minimize the...

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