The Stamford Prison Study

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  • Stanford Prison Study
    • Aim
      • to see whether people will conform to new social roles
    • method
      • p's all male psychology students at stanford uni
      • volunteered to take part in the study
        • were tested for their psychological 'stability'
      • were randomly allocated to 2 groups of prisoners & prison guards
        • prisoners were to spend two weeks locked in 'cells' in a wing of the uni
    • results
      • experiment called off after 6 days
        • guards had become brutal to prisoners - 2 prisoners had nervous breakdown
      • the prisoners didn't stand up to the guards and did as they were told
    • conclusion
      • p's reactions so extreme could b that they conformed to social roles
        • in the study students were given new roles - prisoner or guard- & conformed to the behaviour of these new roles
      • deindividation may also explain the behaviour of the participants
        • state where u become so immersed in the norms of the group u lose ur sense of identity & personal responsibility


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