Conformity to Social Roles

  • Created by: April15
  • Created on: 29-12-19 21:50

Key Study: The Stanford Prison Experiment - Zimbardo (1973)


Zimbardo took 24 male student volunteers and randomly assigned them social roles, either guards or prisoners. The prisoners were unexpectely arrested from their home and had to undertake a delousing procedure.The prisoners and guards were given uniforms and the prisobers were assogned ID numbers whilst the guards were given clubs, whistles, and reflective glasses.The guards were instructed to only refer to the prisoners by their ID numbers throughout the study, the prisoners were given three meals a day, three supervised toilet visits a day and two visits a week. The study was meant to go on for two weeks.


The guards gre increasingly tyrannical and abusive towards the prisoners within the first few days; even when the participants werent aware that they were being watched they continued to conform to their social roles. The guards woke the prisoners at night to clean toilets with


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