The purpose of this essay is to understand the development of norms and the effects of roles, labels, and social expectations in a simulated prison environment. Milgram and Zimbardo’s experiments occur, Baumrind believes the trust the teacher creates with the experimenter can also be a cause of psychological stress once the purpose of the research is disclosed. She explains the “potentially harmful” emotional consequences, by arguing, “it could easily effect an alteration in the subjects self-image or ability to trust adult authorities in the future” (Baumrind 227), because the realization that they could have hurt the “learner” becomes extremely hard to accept. The prisoners were to remain anonymous and only referred to themselves and others by their ID number. As a substitute for shaving their heads, the prisoners were forced to wear a stocking cap. The act of shaving a prisoner’s head is to remove as much individuality as possible. As for the guards, they were not trained on how to act and they were told that within limits, they were allowed to do what they thought was necessary to keep order in the prison and command respect from the prisoners. There were many results, but perhaps the most important was simply this: The simulation became so real, and the guards became so abusive, that the experiment had to be shut down after only 6 days rather than the two weeks planned. the study was approved by the Stanford Human Subjects Review Committee, the Stanford Psychology Department, and the Group Effectiveness Branch of the Office of Naval Research. In addition, the Student Health Department was alerted to the study and prior arrangements were made for any medical care the participants might need.
“The Stanford Prison Experiment” by Philip G. Zimbardo was written to explain the results of the Stanford prison experiment. Zimbardo while trying to gain support for his conclusions of the experiment, demonstrated many errors in his writing, and in his own experiment. The errors that Zimbardo commits call into question the validity of his argument, and the experiment. The goal explained by Zimbardo was “to understand more about the process by such people called “prisoners” lose their liberty, civil rights, independence, and privacy, while those called “guards” gain social power by accepting the responsibility for controlling and managing the lives of their dependent charges” (Zimbardo 733).
Zimbardo starts his paper with a storybook intro “The quiet of a summer morning” he then goes into the process by which the subjects were taken into the prison (732). This is an odd way to start a scientific paper, even if it was published in the New York Journal. He then switches between scientific, and novelistic language. In one sentence Zimbardo compares real prisons to “machines for playing tricks with the human conception of time” how does relating a prison to a machine validate his point? It seems as if Zimbardo is using his language to draw the reader into his paper so that they will sympathize with him.