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STUDENT 1: Ryan
Good evening Professor Durbin and class! This weeks forum was not very interesting at first but I take that back after watching the you tube video. I actually work in corrections and I did not think that experiment by Dr. Zimbardo would take that kind of turn.
Starting with the first question, Do I think it was ethical the way Zimbardo conducted the study? Yes I do. I say that because he was very careful and took the proper safety steps setting things up. Out of 70+ applicants he choose 24 that had no past involving mental instabilities or drug and alcohol abuse. He also informed them exactly what they would be involved in and he paid them so nobody was blindsided at all. This after all was a psychology based experiment so of course you should expect to encounter things you might not be prepared for. If you go back to our Week 2 forums we talked about research methods and in my opinion this was the best way to get data. Back in week 2 I voiced that in my opinion a naturalistic observation method was the best way and I feel this is what he was doing.
Question 2, What did the study reveal and what could have been learned if the study was conducted differently? I believe it revealed that you basically react differently depending on what situation you are put into and in this case the prisoners reacted emotionally and the guards used the power they were given to play games and control the prisoners. I don’t really believe this study could have been conducted any differently to get accurate results unless you simulated everything. Even though the end result was shocking, this was the best way to get the appropriate data.
Last question, how did it relate to what we are studying? I think it related very directly with both prisoners and guards. When talking about conformity you mention how you have to adapt and thats exactly what they both did. The guards got that slight bit of power and they abused it extremely, making the prisoners do things they don’t even do in real prisons. The material said a situationism view is that our behaviors are determined by the situation we are in and a dispositional view is when our behaviors are determined by personality traits and this proves that to the T.
Disclosure: I was unable to click on the link provided in the description of the forum post. It wouldn’t work when I tried. However, I have viewed several videos regarding the Zimbardo experiment.
My opinion : I don’t believe that it was ethical to do the prison study the way that Zimbardo did it. The instant that a person was abused or mistreated, the study should have been shut down. He stood by and allowed it to happen. That was inhumane.
From a psychology perspective, at the time I don’t believe that there were laws to protect some things like that from happening. However, if you compare what happened then to what we have in place now, there would be several red flags. For example, the participants within the study were not told the full extent what was going to happen during that study. Therefore, their consent form to be in it, would become null and void and the study should have been shut down.
The study revealed the power of social situations and the power of the environment to change a person.
Zimbardo’s prison study showed how people responded to having their freedom taken away and being confined. It also showed how people would act in a position of power, if they knew that their identity was concealed. In Zimbardo’s study, the guards received silver reflective glasses to wear. In the video I watched pertaining to the experiment, a guard that participated within stated that he felt like he was someone else and that he felt as if he could be anyone while wearing those glasses.
In my opinion, there is no way to really tell if the same information will be learned if the study was done differently. Not unless a study is done with the current safeguards in place, would you be able to know that. However, I will say that the instant someone was hurt or abused, if I had done the study, at that point it would have ended.
The psychology concepts of conformity were present in what I viewed regarding this experiment. When the one “prison guard” decided that he wanted to essentially really play the role of a guard and give Zimbardo what he had believed that he would want, all the guards followed suit. In the beginning of the study, everyone appeared to have been very aware that it wasn’t real, however, after that they seemed to had become that person. With the power of social situations, the guards and even the inmates in the beginning of the study, believed that they had to behave a certain way in order to meet the expectations of the study. By doing so, they ended up doing things that they may not have ordinarily did.
Another great read and learning experience this week. Before I dive into the ethics of the Zimbardo Stanford experiment, I want to say I watched the movie before I read this or knew that this was a real event. The movie itself was not’t that great and personally felt that the idea behind this true event was remarkably off. I remember watching and thinking that these volunteers was not told the whole truth about the experiment. I also knew that the guards were going to take the power role too far. It happens everyday in the military, so I knew it was just a matter of time. After reading the story, watching the video, and watching the movie, I am more than convinced that this experiment was immoral. I understand the experiment theory, however you can’t lie to people, give them weapons, and then lock them up together to see what happens like lab rats. As stated in 5 psychology experiments, this is not an experiment that you could do today. This experiment reveals that human beings when given a chance, will do the wrong thing. I was asked this question a couple months ago, and me being optimistic about people and life, I had to realize that when people are giving the opportunity with no consequences, that they will most likely do the wrong thing. Zimbardo himself was involved in the study as the superintendent, which provides a bias way of thinking. His prority was to see the experiment through,despite of what the inmates were experiencing. The social psychology of conformity in regards to power was highly evident in this experiment. The prisoners was told that they have run the prison, with no training experience, they proceeded to give authority in the way the that they perceived. The same way with the inmates, they were told they were inmates, so they acted as such. In a lot of cases its like that in society, people act their job title or position. At the end of the movie, when it was over and everybody got outside after the uprising, they just sat outside in silence, awkwardly. Put in that environment, people did not act themselves, and i’m sure could not’t recognize themselves through their actions.
SciShow. (2016). 5 Psychology Experiments You Couldn’t Do Today. Retrieved from http://www.bing.com/videos/searchq=Zimbardo+Prison+Experiment+Was+It+Ethical&&view=detail&mid=340A5197B20C4DA8A518340A5197B20C4DA8A518&&FORM=VRDGAR.
Standford Experiment. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.prisonexp.org/setting-up.