1.1 Zimbardo set up a mock
prison experiment in the
basement of the psychology
department at Stanford
University. They advertised for
students willing to participate
and selected those deemed
1.1.1 The students were randomly assigned either
the role of guard or prisoner. To heighten the
realism the prisoners were 'arrested' in their
homes, delivered to the prison, strip searched
and blindfolded then issued a uniform and
188.8.131.52 The social roles between prisoner and guards were strictly divided.
The prisoners had 16 rules to follow that where enforced. The guard
had their own uniform including wooden clubs, keys and mirror
shades. They also had complete power over the prisoners.
2.1 After a slow start, the
guards took up their
roles with enthusiasm.
Their behaviour became a
threat to the prisoners
health so the simulation
stopped after only 6 of
the intended 14 days.
2.1.1 Within two days the prisoners
rebelled against the harsh
treatment. The guards employed
'divide-and-rule' tactics by
playing prisoners against each
other. They harassed prisoners
constantly. The guard identified
more and more with their role.
Becoming more brutal and
3.1 This revealed the power of
the situation to influence
people's behavior. Guards,
prisoners and researchers all
conformed to their roles
within the prison.
4.1 Lack of realism: Others argued that they
where play acting and conforming to their
roles. Therefore presenting these results. They
were influenced through how they believe
these characters act as seen through movies
4.2 Control: A strength is that they had some control over variables, increasing the internal validity of the study.
4.3 Role of dispositional influences: Only the minority
of the guards (about one third) behaved in a brutal
manner, the others played to the rules. Because of
this people accuse Zimbardo of exaggerating his