The Stanford Prison Experiment is arguably one of the more famous psychological experiments of the past several decades. Discussed in most introductory psychology textbooks, this experiment evaluated the psychology of prison life. Though psychologists intended for the experiment to last two weeks, it had to be called off early, because the participants were beginning to show signs of depression and extreme stress. Read more about this fascinating look at human psychology at the Stanford Prison Experiment web site, located at www.prisonexp.org . Follow the slide show. View the video/audio clips where available. When finished, answer the following questions in essay form:
- How did the “prisoners” cope with their feelings of frustration and powerlessness?
- What are the three types of “guards” that emerged? What characteristics did they display?
- What do the results of this experiment tell us about real life prison?
- What issues related to staff professionalism can be learned from this experiment?