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Reading: Hock 37- A Prisoner by Any Other Name...

by: Brianda Hickey

Reading: Hock 37- A Prisoner by Any Other Name... APSY.UE.0002

Marketplace > NYU School of Medicine > Psychlogy > APSY.UE.0002 > Reading Hock 37 A Prisoner by Any Other Name
Brianda Hickey

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A detailed summary of Reading 37 within Forty Studies That Changed Psychology by Roger R. Hock. To find more information, reference the book. The underlined headings used correspond with those in t...
Adina Schick,
Class Notes
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Brianda Hickey on Tuesday May 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to APSY.UE.0002 at NYU School of Medicine taught by Adina Schick, in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 28 views. For similar materials see INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY AND ITS PRINCIPLES in Psychlogy at NYU School of Medicine.


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Date Created: 05/03/16
Reading: Hock 37- A Prisoner by Any Other Name... Researcher: Philip Zimbardo Created a simulated prison with randomly assigned, typical college students in the roles of “guard” and “prisoners.” Question at hand: Does prison change people, or were the people in the prison sy stem already “different” going in Theoretical Propositions Testing his belief that the environment around you, the situation, often determines how you behave more strongly than who you are (internal, dispositional nature) Method Setting Brought in a consultant to create a situation that would resemble a prison/jail as cl osely as possible: an ex-convict who has been incarcerated for 17 years Simulate a real prison experience Used space in the basement of the Stanford University Small closet was used as solitary confinement An enclosed hallways that ran along the cell rooms was the “prison yard” - used fo r socializing and eating Equipped with a hidden observation camera and an intercom system that allowed the experimenters to maintain supervision of the guards’ and prisoner’s behavior Participants Paid volunteers $15 per day ( that would be about $75 today) to participate in a re search study about prison life. Participants were told about the general nature of the study and that during the st udy they might experience some violations of their personal privacy and civil right s and that the food they would recieve might be minimal, although it would meet t heir basic nutritional needs Participants agreed Tested to screen out anyone with psychological problems or criminal background 24 college-age men At random - coin flip- the men were divided into two groups - prisoners and guard s Received no instruction, training nor preparation Procedure Looking for signs that the situations and roles into which these young men were placed would be strong enough to overcome their personal characteristics and behavioral tendencies as individuals The “Prisoners” Participants were surprised at their homes on a Sunday morning by an officer fro m the Palo Alto Police Department Each participant was “arrested” Charged: Armed robbery Handcuffed, searched,taken to the station Booked, fingerprinted, thrown blindfolded into holdcell Later, they were told that they were to be transported, still blindfolded to the “Stanf ord County Jail” - aka the mock prison At the prison: striped, deloused, given a uniform with a four digit number (number = name for the duration of experiment) rubber sandals nylon stocking to wear over hair at all times ( to simulate head shaving) A chain wrapped around ankle and padlocked ( serve as a reminder of priso n status) Assigned three to each small cell - each had a cot with a thin mattress and one bl anket Virtually no extra room in the small cells Required to be in the prison 24/7 The “Guards” Worked 8-hour shifts Three men per shift Given: Prison guard uniform Nightstick (not allowed to strike prisoners) Reflective sunglasses (menacing and anonymous appearance) No specific training for their roles, merely charged with the responsibility of keepin g the prisoners in line and maintaining order in the prison Results Rapidly, the true identities and personalities of the prisoners and guards seemed t o vanish, and the roles they were being asked to play took over Occurred within a day Participants - especially the prisoners - seemed to forget that they were college students with f ree will; they could have simply quit the study at any time, but they did not After several days: many were pleading to be paroled, released - when release w as denied, they simply returned to their cells 5 of the prisoners became depressed, unable to think clearly and stopped eating Had to be released from the study within the study’s first several days Guards took to tormenting the prisoners - enjoying the power of their position Other guards were less strict and tried to be fair, but they never interfered with the more tyrannical guards and more importantly never went to the experimenters to suggest that the other guards might be ”over the top” in their roles Conclusion Zimbardo originally planned for a 2- week study, yet he decided to call it off after only 6 days because the mock prison situation was so powerful that it had morphed, into reality Escalating level of violence The students had become their roles


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