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A Critique Of The Stanford Experiment

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282 words
Science & Nature

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"The Education of a Torturer" is an account of experiments that has
similar results to that of Milgram's obedience experimentsthat were
performed in 1963. Though both experiments vary drastically, both have one
grim outcome, that is that, "it is ordinary people, not psychopaths, who
become the Eichmanns of history."
The Stanford experiment was performed by psychologists Craig Haney,
W. Curtis Banks, and Philip Zimbardo. Their goal was to find out if
ordinary people could become abusive if given the power to do so. The
results of the six day experiment are chilling. The experiment took
ordinary college students and had some agree to be prisoners and the rest
would be guards for the prisoners. Both groups received no training on
what to do or act like. They had to get all of their knowledge of what to
do from outside sources, such as television and movies. The guards were
given uniforms and night sticks and told to act like an ordinary guard
would. The prisoners were treated like normal criminals. They were finger
printed and booked, after that they were told to put on prison uniforms and
then they were thrown into the slammer (in this case a simulated cellblock
in the basement was used). All of the participants in this experiment at
first were thought to be similar 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 exact opposite. They became
"aggressive and abusive within the prison, insulting and bullying the
After ...

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