Conformity to Social Roles


There is pressure to conform to the expectations of a social role. 

Conformity to social role = identification 

Zimbardo et al set up a mock prison to test whether the brutality of prison guards was the result of sadistic personality or was created by the situation. 


24 emotionally stable (psychological testing) students were randomly allocated to roles of guards or prisoners 

'prisoners' were arrested in their homes to increase realism

Were blindfolded, *****-searched, issued uniform and number 

Prisoners' daily routines were heavily regulated, enforced by guards working in shifts 


Guards had their own uniform: mirror shades, wooden clubs


Within 2 days the prisoners rebelled against their treatment - swore at guard,etc

Guards harassed prisoners by conducting headcounts in the middle of the night 

The guards behaviour threatened the prisoners' psychological and physical health 

after rebellion, prisoners became…


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