Revisiting The Stanford Prison Experiment: A Lesson In The Power Of Situation Critique

893 words - 4 pages

Running head: ARTICLE CRITIQUEArticle Critique Revisiting the Stanford Prison Experiment: a Lesson in the Power of Situation January 17, 2012This is a critique of an article published in Chronicle of Higher Education, (v53 n30 pB6 Mar. 30, 2007) on "Revisiting the Stanford Prison Experiment: a Lesson in the Power of Situation" by Philip G. Zimbardo. This article discusses issues related to how good people can turn bad.SUMMARYIn this article, Zimbardo looks at his previous social experiment on physical abuse in prison and discusses the issues related to the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard, the social power of groups, and how people would behave if they were brought into direct confrontation; whether it would turn good people bad. The author discusses his past social experiment on physical abuse in prison that was conducted in the basement of the Stanford Psychology department.PROBLEM SPECIFIED IN THE ARTICLEOne of many of studies in psychology, the Stanford Prison Experiment reveals from its usual set point, the extent to which human behavior can be transformed and are readily accepting a dehumanized conception of others. "Even to readily accepting a dehumanized conception of others, as 'animals,' and to accepting spurious rationales for why pain will be good for them," (Zimbardo, 2007, p. 4). The Stanford Prison Experiment is compared to the Abu Ghraib situation, and also discussed are the implications of this research to the criminal justice system. The problems specified in the article addresses the social power of groups and as to whether a person could be influenced to exert power over someone else. The experiment called for twenty-four student participants to act as either a prisoner or a guard in the "prison" basement," (Zimbardo, 2007, para 5). After the first day, the guards exercised their powers with increasing authority, forcing the prisoners to do things like making them say abusive things to each other and forcing them to participate in sexual perversion. The experiment was getting out of hand; Zimbardo himself was engrossed in his role. The problem with this experiment was that Zimbardo should have appointed someone with oversight over the whole project, in which could be terminated immediately if things were to go bad. This did not happen. Zimbardo was not only over the experiment, but he played the role of prison superintendent, but nobody to watch over him.STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT COMPARED TO THE ABU GHRAIB SITUATIONIn the Abu Ghraib situation, U.S. soldiers abused Iraqi prisoners, in which were stripped, and forced to wear bags over their heads, and were sexually humiliated. The guards would laugh and mock the prisoners while taking pictures of them in degrading positions. This abuse is similar to what took place in the...

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