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Zimbardo's Prison Party
Transcript of Zimbardo's Prison Party
prison experiment. The all important question was
"What would happen to normal, "good" people if they were put a prison and had their God-given rights taken
away from them?" Well, this is what would happen. In the Beginning... The "prisoners" were arrested and taken to county lock
up, processed, and stuck in a cell. These "criminals" were
males who responded to an ad in the local newspaper. In
exchange for fifteen dollars a day, they would be subjected to a realistic prison setting for two weeks. It is important
to remember that these people are for all intensive
purposes these people were normal. This is were the magic happens... The "Prison" was a hallway in the basement of the
psychology building of the university. The cells were
the classrooms with their doors replaced with steel bars.
Solitary confinement was a closet at the end of the hall. The experimenters observed the prison via a camera at
the opposite end of the hall, and listened to what
happened by using the intercomms in the "cells". Experimenters Carolyn Burkhart, David Gorchoff, Christina
Maslach, Susan Philips, Anne Rosenfield, Lee Ross,
Rosanne Saussote, Greg White. Works Cited list Cherry Kendra. "Psychology." About.com Guide,
n.d. Web. 05 2013. <http://psychology.about.com/>.
Zimbardo, Philip G. "Stanford Prison Experiment." The : A Stimulation Study of Imprisonment. Philip
G. Zimbardo, 1999. Web. 05 Jan. 2013. Welcome to Hell's Outhouse The prisoners were taken from county lockup and brought to the "prison". They were then searched, stripped naked, shaved, sanitized, a chain put on their foot,given dresses and id numbers, and taken to their cells. All this was to humiliate, dehumanize, and crush any sense of individualism in them (They could have sent them back to high school a lot cheaper). It should also be noted that the prisoners started to act and even sit differently, more like that of women. The Guards The guards of the prison were just like the prisoners, average teenagers who volunteered and were healthy, normal people. They received no training and were given the freedom to do anything short of doing "Torture movie" acts. They wore uniforms of khaki shirts and pants, sunglasses, and were issued whistles and nightsticks. Just another day in paradise Day 1: The first count took place, which was designed to familiarize prisoners with their numbers, assert control of the aforementioned, and to increase the realism of the prison setting. Riot!!! The morning of the 2nd day, the prisoners ripped off their caps and numbers, barricaded the doors with their cots, and taunting the guards. The guards quickly sprung into action by calling in the guards from the others shifts and started hosing down the inmates with fire extinguishers. They forced their way into the cells, stripped the prisoners, removed the beds, and forced the leaders of the rebellion into solitary confinment. This is were things started to go very wrong. Prisoners of Priviledge Although the revolution had been stopped, the guards had a new problem. It had taken all of the guards to crush the prisoners and all of them could not be on guard be on guard 24/7. Then one of the guards thought of using psych tactics. They made one of the cells the priviledge cell and put those least responsible for the riot in the cell. Those in the cell got their clothes and beds back and were allowed to wash( I personally think this punished the guards as much as the prisoners that were allowed clothes and baths). They also got special food that they could eat in front of the prisoners that had been temporarily restricted from eating. This was to divide and conquer the prisoners. After half a day of this arrangment the prisoners were reorganized to confuse them. The leaders of the "bad" prisoners thought the "good" ones had ratted them out. This sowed distrust in the prisoners. The guards also were affected by the rebellion. They started seeing the prisoners as enemies who would hurt them if given the opportunity. The punishments started to become more severe. Going to the toilet soon became a priviledge. They had to go to the bathroom in buckets in their cells, which they weren't allowed to empty. Prisoner #5401 The prisoner 5401 was treated the worst. He was one of the leaders of the prisoners and a radical. It was learned from his censored mail that he thought that the experiment was an attempt to learn better control methods over student. He was planning to sell his story to an underground newspaper. He became #5401 so much that he was proud when he became chairman for the prisoner grievance council. Voices in my head The first one to crack was #8612. He suffered emotional disturbance, mania, rage, and uncontrolled sobbing. The guards thought he was trying to trick them into releasing him. The prison consult told him he was being weak when interviewed. He was offered becoming an informant in exchange for no more harassment by the guards. The next day he told his fellow inmates not to leave. This means that he really thought he was imprisoned. He then went looney. Eventually they realized that he wasn't faking and realized he was released. Visiting Hour They allowed visiting hours on the third day. In order to hid the condition and thus prevent the parent from withdrawing their boys, the guards improved the conditions in order to make it seem as if the prison was warm and safe. They put limits like number of visitors and time, registration, and they had to discuss their sons case with the warden. At first they were alarmed by the conditions of their sons, but they decided to work within the system to free their boys. Escape Soon after there was a rumor that there would be a mass escape. The rumor was that #8612 was going to gather up a posse to break in and release the prisoners. As detached observers, they should have observed the breakout attempt. Instead, they talked tactics on stopping it. In the end they sent in an informant to give them details on the attempt. The researchers tried to get the local cops to allow the prisoners to be transferred to their jail. The police refused and they felt frustrated at the lack of cooperation between institutions. They then pretended to discontinue the experiment and move the prisoners temporarily. They even thought of reimprisoning #8612. Once it was realized that the rumor was false and that they had wasted all that time the guards heightened their punishments of the prisoners. They had to do push-ups and clean out toilet bowls. They increased the length of counts to several hours. Spiritual Guidance A priest who worked in a prison was asked to visit and rate the realism of the prison. He met with all the prisoners and asked them what they were doing to get out. They were confused by this. The Beginning of the End. Parole boards were held for prisoners who thought they had grounds for parole. The board was made up of people who didn't know the prisoners. One new prisoner ,#416, was admitted near the end. He went on hunger strike in protest to the conditions. He was thrown into solitary for 3 hours even though the limit was 1. On the 5th day the parents requested that the experiment be discontinued. The prisoners were suffering emotional trauma, and the guards had become sadists. After only six days, the two week experiment ended. The results The boys involved in the experiment had no permanent psychological scarring. Regulations on experiments like this one were increased. Unfortunetly, prisons have not benefited from this experiment and have only gotten worse. Media has inflamed this by spreading fear of violent crimes which has forced crackdown on crime. By Jordan Evans