Stanford Prison Experiment

Topic: Stanford Prison Experiment

Please watch the video on the Stanford Prison Experiment (link below), and answer the following questions in your group. The purpose of the video is to encourage deep thought and discussion about ethical concerns in research.

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1) What is your initial gut reaction to the experiment as a whole?

2) Given Milgram’s study on obedience, do you think that Zimbardo’s research was important?

3) Did the subjects give informed consent prior to participating in the experiment? What were some of the safeguards the researchers used, prior to conducting the experiment, to make sure things wouldn’t get out of hand? Do you think these were enough?

4) Did Zimbardo’s research violate any of the APA’s 5 principles of ethical conduct? If so, which ones?

5) Put yourself in the shoes of the “prisoners.” How do you think you would have responded? What kind of long terms effects, if any, do you think you would be left with?

6) Put yourself in the shoes of the “guards.” Can you see yourself behaving in a similar fashion? Do you think that they were inherently “bad” people, or can social situations and circumstances lead anyone to behave that way?

7) In hindsight, do you think there is anything the researchers could have done to change the dynamics so as to avoid some of the more abusive behavior? If so, what? If not, why?

8) Have you ever been in an environment that encouraged behavior that would otherwise be inappropriate or seen as wrong? How did you feel about it at the time? How did you handle the situation (e.g., did you go along with it, refuse to go along with it, take yourself out of the environment)?

9) Sometimes being aware of the potential for behavior to get out of control is enough to stop it from happening. Think about this, and how it can apply to real life situations. Have you ever been in a situation where you were uncomfortable with how another person was being treated? If so, what did you do, and how did it make you feel? If you haven’t been in that kind of situation, think about how you might respond in the future.


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Stanford Prison Experiment was first posted on March 6, 2020 at 4:35 pm.
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