Flashcards in Zimbardo's Standford Prison Study Deck (10)
How many people took part in the study, and what category were they split into?
12 guards and 12 prisoners.
How long was the study meant to go on for, and how long did it?
Two weeks but it was shut down after six days.
Were participants payed? If so, how much?
Yes. All participants were payed $15 per day.
What happened to all participants before they were assigned a role?
They were all tested to ensure they were psychologically stable to ensure the results were as valid as possible.
How many participants were released early due to psychological trauma?
3 participants were released within the first 5 days.
What happened on day two, and what followed?
The prisoners rebelled against the guards, however the guards managed to control it. Following this, the guards became more aggressive:
- Doing midnight roll calls.
- Forcing prisoners to clean toilets with their bare hands.
- Removing all privacy and basic luxuries like mattresses.
What happened to the prisoners after the rebellion?
They became more submissive and hopeless. Some displayed severe anxiety and obvious signs of psychological distress.
How were the prisoners taken in to the experiment?
They were arrested at their houses and taken to a real police station. They were 'booked' at the station, stripped, deloused and then given a number instead of a name. They were degraded and then transported to the fake cells.
Criticisms of Zimbardo's study are:
1) It is ethically questionable - the participants were subject to psychological abuse, with the prisoners becoming withdrawn, submissive and dismissive. The guards also reported feeling guilty and anxious with their actions.
2) Individual differences and personality also determine the extent to which a person conforms to social roles, so Zimbardo has potentially over exaggerated the power of the situation to affect conformity to social roles.
3). Findings have yet to be replicated. Fromm (1973) repeated the experiment and found that dispositional factors (internal personality traits of participants that may confound the reliability of the results) may also play a role in conformity to social roles rather than souly situational factors.
4). Fromm accused Zimbardo's hyperbolic nature towards behaviours to give his study high internal validity.
5). Contradicatory findings - Reicher and Haslam - guards and prisoners didn't identify to social roles.