Zimbardo- Evaluation

  • Created by: MollyL20
  • Created on: 15-09-20 09:22
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  • Zimbardo - Evaluation
    • Strengths
      • Maintained some degree, the control because its a very controlled environment
      • And maintained some degree of ecological validity because Zimbardo made it as close to a real life situation as possible
      • Data collection-  He used qualitative approaches such as observation, both covert ad overt, interviews and questionnaires
    • Limitations
      • Unrepresentative example as the participants were white, male, middle class, healthy psychology students, so cant be generalised
      • It lacks ecological validity, it wasn't 100% real because many aspects of real prison life was absent
        • Also, the maximum anticipated sentence was only two weeks
      • However, there is evidence that participants did act although the situation was real
        • 90% of the prisoners situations was about prison, only the other 10% was about life outside of the prison
        • The guards rarely exchanged personal information. Either talked about problem prisoners, other prison topics or they just didn't speak at all
        • The guards were also always on time and even worked extra hours for free
        • When the prisoners were introduced to a priest, they were referred to as their prison numbers, dehumanising them. Some even asked for a lawyer to help get them out
      • Ethics
        • Deception- The only time the participants were deceived was when the prisoners were unexpectedly arrested
          • Zimbardo claims that the only reason it wasn't on the contract was because they didn't know it would go ahead until minutes before they decided to participate
        • When Zimbardo realised the damage he was causing, he stopped the experiment
        • The approval of the experiment was given by: the University Committee of Human Experimentation, the Psychology department and the Office of Naval Research. None of which anticipated such an extreme reaction
        • Debriefing- Group and individual debriefing sessions took place, weeks, months and now yearly
        • Zimbardo also argues that the benefits gained about human behavior and how we can improve society should have balanced out the distress caused
          • The US Navy have used the experiment to train their soldiers to be able to cope with the stress of captivity


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