The Stanford Prison Experiment

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Tue Mar 11 2008 - 08:32:02 MDT

Stuart writes

> [Lee wrote]
>> So what is it that has kept me "me"? I say it's memories.
> I'd say that memories are a necessary but not sufficient condition to
> keep you "you". The guards and inmates in the Stanford prison
> experiment
> ended up behaving completely differently after only a few short days.

BTW, I have very little respect for Zimbardo's experiment.
I think that he led his students along, and rather visibly
approved as they began acting rather savagely. There was
a political point at stake, you know.

And how UNFORTUNATE: The experiment can never
be repeated on *ethical grounds*.

 I am glad to see---finally---after all these years, sustained
criticism of that experiment (the nice criticism portion of the
above article).

WAIT! Oh, for joy! For joy! The blessed Wikipedia article
goes on to validate what I have suspected all these decades:

    Haslam and Reicher

    Alex Haslam and Steve Reicher (2003), psychologists from the University of Exeter
    and University of St Andrews, conducted a partial replication of the experiment
    with the assistance of the BBC, who broadcast scenes from the study as a reality TV
    program called The Experiment. Their results and conclusions were very different
    from Zimbardo's and led to a number of publications on tyranny, stress and
    leadership (moreover, unlike results from the SPE, these were published in leading
    academic journals; e.g., British Journal of Social Psychology, Journal of Applied
    Psychology, Social Psychology Quarterly) . While their procedure was not a direct
    replication of Zimbardo's, their study does cast further doubt on the generality of
    his conclusions.

And the last sentence is the clincher! Wait till I tell some of my friends
this exciting news:

    Specifically, it questions the notion that people slip mindlessly
    into role and the idea that the dynamics of evil are in any way banal. Their
    research also points to the importance of leadership in the emergence of tyranny
    (of the form displayed by Zimbardo when briefing guards in the Stanford

As I had guessed: Zimbardo got the results he wanted. Maybe even an
example of

       The Pygmalion effect, or more commonly known as the "teacher-expectancy
       effect" refers to situations in which students perform better than .


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