Conformity to social roles: Zimbardo


Conformity to social roles 

The Stanford prison experiement

  • Procedure
    • Zimbardo et al set up a mock prison in the basement of Stanford university to test whether the brutality of prison guards was a result of sadistic personalities or whether it was created by the situation
    • Recruited 24 emotionally stable male students determined by psychological testing
    • 'Prisoners' were arrested in their homes and delivered to the 'prison', blidfolded, *****-searched, deloused and issued a uniform and a number
    • De-individualisation:
      • Prisoner's names never used only their numbers
      • Guards had their own uniform- wooden club, handcuffs, key and sunglasses. They were told they had complete power over prisoners
  • Findings/conclusions
    • Within two days prisoners rebelled against their treatment- ripped uniforms, swore at the guards
    • Guards harassed prisoners constantly by conducting frequent headcounts
    • The guards took up their roles with enthusiasm. Their behaviour threatened the…


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