Monday, February 15, 2010

How a Stimulated Prison Experiment can alter your persona

The Stanford Prison Experiment was conducted in order to understand and reenact a real prison situation and what the psychological effect is on the prisoners as well as the guards. The experiment took normal volunteers who had no past prison/crime history and placed them in this faux environment in order to document their reactions. The prison was created replicating a real life prison, the guards who were volunteers had basic instruction on how to do their job, and the prisoners were clearly made to believe that they deserved to be in confinement throughout the experiment. The result was not expected to come to fast, that both parties fell directly into their given roles. The guards quickly began to take advantage of their power and abuse and humiliate the prisoners because they discovered that this was a fit method to keep them under control. The prisons, although attempted an initial revolt, likewise began to act like real live prisoners. They had apparent signs of humiliation and depression, a few prisons could not complete the experiment and broke down emotionally. From the beginning the volunteers signed up for this, and knew that they were not actual criminals or guards, however through the course of the experiment they seemed to quickly forget this obvious fact and began to believe this to be their reality.
This can be compared to mob mentality, how within a large group of people, an individual may completely change their normal methods of behavior. These guards may have been kind good hearted men, however when placed into this prison environment they all began acting cruelly. Mob mentality may effect anyone although you may previously deny falling into such behaviors. If these volunteers had been told what they would act like during the experiment, they most likely would not believe it. Most people would not accept the fact that they could easily change their morality through such influence, however the psychological effect of the given surroundings of a prison is undeniably vile and crude, and thus you begin to assimilate to such standards.
Katerina Slootsky

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