Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Stanford Prison Experiment

Please click on this link to read about one of the most controversial experiments of our time: The Stanford prison experiment. Read meticulously, as some of the most fascinating (and disturbing) elements of this experiment are in the little details.

When you have finished reading, I'd like you to use the blog to respond to what you have read. I'm not going to give you guiding questions this time; instead, I'd like you to ask your own questions and offer your own, authentic responses. Tomorrow in class we will be connecting this experiment to The Crucible.

Remember that the blog is space to have a conversation, so read others' comments, respond to others' questions, and react to others' reactions.

26 comments:

sdermody said...

Hey guys! I have a question, why do you think the undergraduates (especially thoes acting as guards) so easily adapted to their roles? Are there other situations you can think of where role playing becomes dangerous?

I personally believe that anytime people are placed into a situation where they are expected to act in a certain way bounderies are crossed. Thinking back to times of playing bandits and cowboys (cops and robbers) with my cousins, I remebered how easily play became "survival" and how easily I slipped into either role. It is interesting to see how easily humans can forget their identity and become lost in a game or role. For example, alot of people agree that Heath Ledger commited suicide because of his role of Joker in Batman. I found this article interesting: www.nydailynews.com/news/2008/01/24/2008-01-24_jack_nicholson_warned_heath_ledger_on_jo.html

mollyd said...

Sabrina- I think those acting as guards adapted so well because they were in a powerful position. Humans like to have power and be in control so I think it was really easy for the guards to play their role. They were able to control every aspect of the prisoner’s lives and they just got too carried away with it.
One thing I found interesting was the fact that out of 50 people who saw the prison only one objected to it. Why do you think this is? If the place was so appalling how come no one thought anything wrong with it except for one?
Overall I think the experiment was rather interesting. I think it will help with some issues that may be going on in prisons. It really shows how easily people can be sucked into new roles in life.

chelseas said...

Sabrina-I agree with Molly. I think that the prison guards felt that they were in a position of power, and that this was just an experiment. I think that they also thought that since these men signed up for this, that they could get away with it since they were getting paid. At first, it was all fun and games, but then it almost became an addiction, and they couldn't control when they were going too far with the role-playing.

Molly-I think that only one objected because all of the others were afraid to speak out. These men were stable, but that doesn't mean that they are willing to fight for what they believe in. I think that it also got too out of hand, to the point that they didn't know what to do to stay somewhat safe in the prison.

One question that I had was why do you think that Zimbardo let this go on for so long? Wouldn't you have thought that he would have said enough is enough? I would have thought that all of the guards would have had some sort of training before they were allowed to participate in the experiment.

Overall, I thought that this experiment was very interesting. It showed what some people will do in order to fill the role of a character. It was shocking, but the results are important to look at when examining humans in general.

Ryad said...

Sabrina- I agree with Molly and Chelsea, the power they had played a big part in how easily they adapted. As for the prison mates, it's instinct to try to protect yourself when you are being prosecuted. Hence their escape attempts ect. that's really interesting about Heath Ledger and a very good connection.

Molly- Maybe they did feel it was wrong but didn't say anything because, like you, they thought it was interesting and might help prison conditions.

Chelsea-I think Zimbardo let it go on so long because he had the most power of all. He was controlling the prison guards. Also pride in his experiment might have kept him from stoping the experiment.

Personally I find things like this so interesting. It may sound odd but sometimes I wonder what our limets, as human beings, are. How far can we be pushed before we fall of the edge? But I also thing that it is moraly wrong to experiment like that so my curiosity is at odds with my concious. What do you guys think?

AustinD said...

@Sabrina: I agree with Molly; the undergrads were in a role of power (or weakness) and they didn't want to escape their roles. It's a lot like the salem witch trials; people knew that the trials were wrong, but the girls, Parris, Hale, and everyone else started to gain power by accusing each other. Those with power started to get stronger and the weaker people started to go down. Then people gradually accepted their roles and it continues to spiral down out of controll.

Definetly an interesting read. It's kinda odd to think about how much humans like to pretend. Most of us as kids likely came up with a game and they would play out the situation. The expirement acted out in a similar fasion; they choose to play this game and they role played actual guards and actual prisoners. They got used to their roles and they played their roles almost too well for their own good. An interesting thing I picked out was how each aplicant was white and middle class. Don't know why, but I don't tend to associate violent tendencies with middle class white boys and look what happened in the expirement.

melissaz said...

Sabrina, that is such an interesting point about Heath Ledger and how he may have committed suicide. I think that there is some validity to the thought that people can sometimes internalize things so deeply, it can reach the point of almost insanity. When a person is surrounded by an unhealthy environment, is given the thought that what they are doing is genuinely ok, and is playing a very dark and cruel character, I can definitely see how it could get out of hand.

One thing that really bothered me about this experiment is the fact that even some of the boundaries formed before the experiment, like no physical harm, were even broken. It seemed like "rules" were established but broken easily and not enforced. How can this be a real and legitimate experiment if the simple boundaries are broken?

When I think about a real prison, although I don't know, I think that the guards and the people running the facility had to have gone through a lot of training and physiological training to be put in that kind of job. They would probably be clearly enforced to be careful, and the boundaries would be strongly placed. Not just anyone, even if they seem stable, can be put into a prison guard situation and handle it with the strength and care needed.

Rya, I think "the edge" for each person is different, and it depends on the point in your life. Some people are very easily persuaded and molded into things, and others are very opinionated and have a strong root system. But I think once we fall off the edge, it is extremely hard to come back to reason and the rest of real life. These men were pushed over the edge, and in that environment could not stabilize.

Ok, my question is...Do you think that most humans can truly internalize and become cruel in a matter of days, with the right situation? Is whether a person is good or "evil" dependent completely on the environment and the given the go ahead?

morganw said...

@ Melissa - To answer your question, yes. I do think people can turn so cruel in such a short amount of time. I do not believe that people are naturally good. I just don't. I think being "good" is something we have to work at all the time in order to achieve it. And sometimes, people aren't good because they want to be, but because they know they have to be. Yes, the circumstances and the permission can help edge people on, but I don't think it was just permission Zimbardo gave the participants. He basically told them that in order to do their jobs in this experiment they had to behave cruelly and degrade one another. They were no longer required to fight against their mean urges and instead told to indulge them, so they responded exactly in that manner.

@Sabrina - I also agree with Melissa, Chelsea, Molly, Austin, and Rya - the participants and Zimbardo (And this also applies to Chelsea's question) became so into their roles because of the power and, at least for the guards and Zimbardo, the freedom to do whatever they wanted to or thought was "necessary" to the outcomes of the experiment. They all got so caught up that they didn't even realize where it was headed before it was too late.

This reminds me of the movie "The Wave" about the high school teacher who got his class to basically turn into Nazi's. One of the things I noted when studying this last year is that at first, it seems like just fun and games, but then it gets imbedded in people that it is a real-life situation and they stop playing it and start living it. Which brings up an interesting point about how impressionable the human mind really is.

@Molly - I think that people were pushed by peer pressure into not saying anything about the situations of the experiments. They probably noticed all the cruel stuff that was going on but decided to not say anything because they didn't want to insult anybody. They probably figured that since no one else was saying anything they shouldn't either.

@Rya - I agree. Some part of me wants to see how far people can get pushed because of all the crazy things that go on in the world. I want to know what makes people do what they do, but part of me is scared to find out. I'm afraid of hurting someone or seeing someone hurt and I'm afraid that I might see how dark people really can be.

@ Melissa - This is about the internalization part of your question - I do think that people can make themselves believe or become anything. The power of manipulation and control that the human mind has is absolutely remarkable. (And quite frightening)

hannahl said...

I think it is very interesting that someone would want to simulate the prison experience with normal people, and yet the results were seemingly anything but normal. The experiment clearly shows humans' capability to slowly begin to live a lie. It also illustrates the tendency of humans to be merciless when given the chance to be powerful. It is sick that the man running the experiment did not stop it when it became violent and also that the prisoners did not drop out when being physically and mentally tortured. I think this is interesting when you consider simulations in school situations. For example, last year in Smith's english class, we simulated a 1984-esque society in the classroom. Everybody got really into it and became frightened and either strongly rebelled or suprisingly conformed to the expectations of the society. It was slighltly frightening how involved everyone became in their fictitious roles, including spies. As far as the question about crossing the boundaries and breaking the rules go, I think the prison gaurds began to feel angry towards the inmates in a weird superior way. They felt like the inmates were scum and needed to be put in their place, and since they were given power, they exploited it like so many humans do.

Melissa- I think your question about cruelty relates to The Crucible a lot. In the situation of the witch trials, ALL of Salem could have given in to the hysteria and started accusing and pretending to be afflicted. HOWEVER... there were characters, and real people, who did not. John Proctor was given the chance to become powerful and give up the names of others to save his life, but he did not, he would rather die than live a cruel lie. I think this shows that in some situations, the ego (to bring in Freud) is able to really completely disregard an inherent instinct, like exploiting power and becoming cruel, to stand by the morals engraved in one's mind and disregard the animalistic natural instinct to save oneself. So, I am the optimist here and I am going to say that because of our "intelligence" as humans, some of us would be able to overcome the instinct of cruelty and remain humane.

I think it is interesting in the "conclusions" section of the website about the experiment, it talks about cognative dissonance. I followed the link and found that this is a pyschological term meaning stress caused by two paradoxical ideas in one's brain, very similar to the id and the superego.

My questions: How does this experiment relate to the scandal at Abu Ghraib? How does it relate to the concentration camps in Europe during the Holocaust? Through these connections, what can we conclude about modern societies vs. past societies and about human nature?

How does this tie into the idea of innocent prisoners serving long sentences and confessing, or not? How does it connect to the belated confession of Proctor just before his death in Salem?

ParkerH said...

You know, I would like to think that people were good at heart, and that if something this twisted were going on, it would be stopped, but I know better. It seems that people really aren't that great at heart. I don't think I would go along with this if I saw the experiment, and I think it's kind of creepy that the person who did object to this experiment married the creator of the "experiment".
And Morgan, I am totally with you about the Wave thing. You are very right about that, and that was creepy to watch...
Rya, I can understand your curiosity vs. conscience, and here's my personal opinion. Whenever someone is getting hurt, it's a bad thing. Pretty much that plain and simple. So when both the prisoners and guards have mental issues afterwards, and the prisoners were physically abused (even though they weren't supposed to be physically abused, but whatever), then it's wrong. So if that helps, yay. If not, sorry...
So here's my question... do you people just hate this experiment and think it's utterly wrong? Or do you not have a big problem with it?

kennaw said...

Reading this article makes me question Zimbardo's morality and purpose for this inhumane experiment. I just can't believe someone could sit and watch these innocent undergraduates be punished for volunteering to be in the experiment. What really bothers me, and actually gives me pretty vivid images, are the punishments they had to undergo. I just can't imagine being in their positions. I would never be able to participate in an experiment like this, even if I needed the cash or not.

Why do you think the guards got so into it and felt like being a guard was actually their life? How could they treat another human being like they did and be proud and happy with themselves at the end of they day?

How could the prisoners stay in the experiment for that long while undergoing all of those harsh conditions?

What do you guys think their motivations were behind that? In other words, why did the guards and prisoners feel like those roles were their roles in real life and how could they stay with the experiment for so long? If you were a guard would you be able to torture the undergraduates like they did? If you were a prisoner, would you quit?

Molly~ I definitely agree with you in saying it shows how easily people can get sucked into new roles. It's like peer pressure, to the extreme though. Kids change their morals and thoughts depending on the situation they're in. These people did the same. They obviously really felt like they were being punished and should be and that the guards held power. Americans always want power that's what we fight for. Once the guards got a hold of it, they took full advantage of it.

lizc said...

Sabrina- Heath Ledger ws probably dealing with other things besides just his role. No one will ever know. I've heard a ton of different things about what happened to him and why so I don't really know which one to believe and I don't want to believe that he killed himself. Anyways, this experiment is pretty extreem especially because everyone got so involved, including the guy that was running it. The only reason they stopped it is because someone from outside the experiment saw the inside! What would have happened if that lady was not scheduled for interviews?! It is amazing how much people can be affected just because they are made to look better, or given higher or lower roles in a situation. Have you ever heard about the school teacher that did the brown eye blue eye experiment with her 3rd graders? She basically manipulated groups of kids each day into thinking that they were better or worse than other poeople. Just something to think on...

amyw said...

It's disturbing to me how the guards had a goal to take away the prisoners' individuality. Even though it was "just an experiment," it could have (and probably did) have permanent effects on both the prisoners and the guards. It's impossible for me to even grasp how that must feel, to be called by a number instead of your name and to be treated like you were nothing.
This seems like such an extreme experiment. It was weird that it was even allowed to take place. I wonder if the people who conducted it even considered the effect it would have on the people who participated.
Also, I was wondering what your thoughts were on this: it said in the article that some of the guards were upset when the experiment ended early; why do you think this was?
Why was there only one person who questioned the experiment out of the fifty people that observed it?
Why were some of the guards kind, yet some of them abusive? What did the most abused prisoners do that caused them to be so abused, if anything?

alexf said...

Molly~ I agree that it was appalling that only 1 of 50 people objected to this experiment! That’s cruel!
If you think about it, however, those 49 people thought that that was a “normal” situation. Guards are claiming that they acted so harshly because that’s what they thought Zimbardo wanted and that’s how they thought they should behave. What I have a problem with, regarding this, is that they claimed that Zimbardo’s pre-experiment speech suggested that the guards act harsh and cruel. If that is so, which it may well be, then why were those 49 people okay with what was going on? They were just told that it was an experiment of students in a fake jail, yet the observers were okay with the harsh punishments of the prisoners. Does this mean that back then they thought that cruelty and evilness was okay and somewhat normal? Do we still approve of this today? If you look around the community, the people who are the most “popular” are usually bullies and gossipers. This is cruel, yet society seems to approve of it! How are we much different from back then when the experiment was going on?!

KarlyH said...

I think that this experiment is very disturbing! Why do you think that the guards slipped into the roles so quickly and completely? I think that this could have something to do with the ego and super egos we were discussing in class. Our natural instincts are survival of the fittest and whoever has the most power is in a position to look down upon and control others. Once the guards, formally equal to the prisoners, were put into a power of position over them, what was socially acceptable of them was changed and their behavior changed with the expectations.

One thing that I thought was interesting was how the guards turned the prisoners against each other. This is like how the “witches” were encouraged to turn in others that had compacted with the devil.

The role-playing displayed in this experiment can also be compared with the behavior of the children in Lord of the Flies. When their environment changed, power struggles and survival of the fittest led the boys to uncharacteristic barbaric behavior and cruelness towards one another.

Oliviak said...

To answer Amy’s question I would think that they got so absorbed in their roles that they really didn’t realize how wrong what they were doing was. I also think it may be because they were thinking this is what Zimbardo wanted.

I was also shocked about only one out of fifty people thought it was wrong. I don’t think that these people really understood what was going on and what the experiment’s propose was or what the experiment was trying to prove.
Alex you bring up a good point about how today’s society is similar to that of back then with the experiment I never really thought of that.

EmilyJ said...

Kenna- I think that the prisoners stayed in the experiment so long because of the money. They knew they were getting paid a lot and they thought it would be worth it. But, I think if the experiment had gone on for more than 6 days,people would have started to drop out. I mean, there is only so much a human can physically and emotionally take for only getting paid the $15 a day. There must be a limit.

Personally, if I were a guard, I don't think I could've handled it very long. I would not be able to stand treating people so harshly like that. It seems like pure abuse and the "prisoners" don't deserve it at all. I would probably have quit after the first day after seeing what the experiment would really be like. Same goes with if I was a prisoner. I would definitely quit after the first day. It is hard for the human body and mind to function in such harsh conditions, and it would leave such a huge and unnecessary disturbing impact on me. I don't see this experiment as being productive to its participants in any way, and there are so many terrible effects it left on people.

My question is very general, but it still makes me wonder. Why would Zimbardo take this experiment to such extreme? Was there not a possible less intense way of performing this "experiment"? It seems like he took this project way over the edge, and instead of just "simulating" a prison, it became a reality that took over people's minds. Any thoughts?

MattN said...

Well, as much as I hate to say it, I believe that people are born bad and have to be put into a good environment and role in order to succeed and become a good person. I think that some experiments like this one are some of those particular events in a persons life that will affect whether they are a good or bad person. Because of this I think of the question: are people born nuetral, and the acts and the environment they grow up in affects who they become? Or are people born with certain characteristics or personalities? I am also really intrigued by Sabrina's first question, of how some people adapted to their roles faster and more easily then others! I think that is really easily related to the Crucible, especially Abigail, because once the power of essentially the whole town is put in her hands, she uses it for evil instead of good. Like the gaurds, they ended up playing the roles like tehy didn't even recognize their school mates. I think this is sick and wrong to make people do that, because human beings obviously are easily manipulated into doing things they don't actually want to do. I do think the outcome was very interesting though, how the people really did adapt to their roles. What is everyone elses opinion on that topic?

marissas said...

Morganw- Good point! This situation is really like The Wave. Sometimes something that may seem like a game can be taken way to far. Everyone gets so wrapped up in the "game" that its hard to tell fiction from reality. In the prison experiment, the Heath Ledger suicide arguement, and The Wave, the people start believing that what they are participating in is real.

Hannahl-Your'e right, the guards in the Stanford prison experiment probably wouldn't have gotten so into the experiment if they weren't given so much power. I believe that every person longs for power in some way or another, and sometimes it can be put into the wrong hands. Also, when you realize that you have the power to control other individuals, it is almost impossible to give that up. It's almost like an addiction.

Karlyh- I loved your connection to the Crucible. You are completely right! In both the Crucible and the Stanford Prison Experiment, the people with a lot of power turned the powerless against each other, which ultimately made them even weaker targets.

morgant said...

I was wondering why the prisoners wanted to continue the experiment after "forfeiting all of their experiment-participation pay."

This really stood out to me because I would have gotten out of there as fast as I could if I had played the role of a prisoner...I think, though, the people playing the role of the criminals or the prisoners really adapted to their roles in "society." Since they were actually arrested at their own homes, had fingerprints taken, and mug shots were taken, they were treated as real prisoners. With the abuse of the guards and the other prisoners as influences, I think they really started to feel like they really were prisoners. They felt like that was where they belonged, and so they stayed even without any pay.

@Parker- I definitely had a HUGE problem with the experiment! I mean maybe the initial idea was just for the purpose of finding out the effects of being in a prison, but it turned into something much more complex and just disturbing.

@Melissa- I do think humans can become cruel in a short amount of time. This is just an example, but if something happened to someone that was in the span of a day, and it was something absolutely terrible, it will take awhile to forget about it. Sometimes that underlying motive can cause people to act a certain way for a certain amount of time. If it involved a certain type of people, that person could be cruel to those people, or just avoid them completely. It depends on the situation I think, but it is definitely possible.

jordans said...

Sabrina: I think that people fall so easily into role playing because of a placebo affect. If you convince yourself of something and your situation and surroundings match it then there’s really no tie to reality. I think this also ties into The Crucible because all the girls started believing their own lies, which I suppose to be a good liar that is necessary. Coaches and parents often tell you that “it’s all in your head” which is mostly true because you’re the one who can control you thoughts but I think the situation has a lot to do with it as well.

Hannah: I never even considered the fact that they used normal and mentally stable subjects in the experiment, but I think if they had used real inmates the effects wouldn’t have been so bad. I think the so called normal subjects were mentally stable but not mentally strong, they hadn’t been hardened by prison like a real inmate would be. They were susceptible to more emotional and mental trauma.

I think it’s interesting how much someone mind can convince them mentally and even physically to act a certain way. For example distance runners have to hold pain for long amounts of time and push through the “wall” that their body builds, but some doctors and coaches argue that you only feel pain because you expect to and everyone else in the race may feel pain, but they say if you can mentally convince yourself that there is no pain and push through it you can get your mind to persuade your body that there is no pain. Personally whenever I run I feel the burn no matter what! Another interesting example is one I learned from a bartender, they said that if they no someone is underage but is trying to get a drink they will give them a virgin version of their request and oddly enough they still seem to act and feel drunk. They expect to be drunk but they really aren’t yet they still convince themselves they’re drunk.

Some questions I have are: how far do you think the mind can go to overcome physical reality? How can you relate this experiment to a personal experience? Do you think that if the experiment had been trying to prove something different and they used positive strategies it would have caused them to get so into it? In other words do you think people only respond to negative treatment towards others in terms of taking things too far?

whitneys said...

Mattn ~ I really liked your question about if people are born neutral and then influenced by society! I think that we are born neutral and our environment shapes who we become. Yes, we are born with an individual personality, but I believe we lose our original personality to the personality our environment gives us. This is blatantly portrayed in the Stanford Prison experiment.

When Zimbardo told the guards: "You can create in the prisoners feelings of boredom, a sense of fear to some degree, you can create a notion of arbitrariness that their life is totally controlled by us, by the system, you, me, and they'll have no privacy… We're going to take away their individuality in various ways. In general what all this leads to is a sense of powerlessness. That is, in this situation we'll have all the power and they'll have none."

it gave the guards the authority to exert power over other human beings and it forced the prisoners to accept the power of the guards. There was no one to check their power. At first they began by just exerting simple power over the prisoners one might expect. But slowly the prisoners started to revolt against their little power. The guards did not like losing power in an environment that entitled them to power. Thus, they turned to other methods of exerting their power, such as putting the prisoners through physical exercise, seclusion and a sanitary environment. The environment gave the guards the power and thus turned normal men into sadistic prison guards.

Sound familiar...two words...The Crucible.

Question - What are your thoughts of the distribution and enforcement of power shown in the experiment? Is power the key aspect of the environment pushing the guards to become so abusive, or is their anther?

MollyS said...

Melissa- First of all, your question reminds me of some of our earlier guiding questions in class, Can a good person do bad things? Are people able to just conjure up these hostile (vocabulary word!) feelings or are they inherently (another one!) evil? I think that it is very possible to be sucked into situations such as this experiment, and I think that if I was one of the 'experiments' I would probably do things that I wouldn't be all too proud of. After all, as anyone who has Mrs. Cornils for US History last year knows, people get excited when it seems like they are going to get to try something new, when competition gets the best of them. I think that the people involved in this experiment were just so enthralled with the new and thrilling ride they were about to go on, and were probably ready to make the best of their time there, immersing themselves into the experiment.

Something that keeps me wondering however, is the fact that the people who were being abused didn't stand up for themselves, knowing that they were being mistreated. Why do you think this is?

roser said...

First off all, I think this experiment went down hill way to fast and in much intensity. I think both the guards and prisoners adapted so quickly and intensely because of how real their surroundings were. They obviously didn't mess around in their roles and duties.

This experience can easily be connected to many similar happening like hannah said, for example the Holocaust. It is just so mind boggling how people get so into roles and such that give them a twisted mind-set and different personality.

The Heath Ledger incident creeps me out a lot, because I believe him taking on the role of the joker made him a bit insane. I heard that even Jack Nicholson even warned him, as the old joker, that the role was difficult to get yourself out of, which sounds pretty scary.

This all just goes to show how even in everyday life most of us are so apt to change and even role-reversal that sometimes we forget the truth about who we really are.

shannanp said...

First off-did anyone see the vocab word inherent in the article?
"In other words, it seemed the situation caused the participants' behaviour, rather than anything *inherent* in their individual personalities"


Sabrina-I have actually heard that rumor about Heath Ledger and that alot of the things that were so creepy about The Joker weren't even in the script-Heath added them. Also, I heard that he would lock himself in his room for days at a time to transform into The Joker.

MorganW-I actually read about the expirement "The Third Wave". I found it very interesting, but also quite disturbing. As I read it, though, I couldn't help but think that maybe there were some harsher details that weren't revealed-it seems that students wouldn't conform so easily.

Ok, so at first, this experiment didn't seem so bad because I didn't really expect that any of the undergrads would take it seriously? Could you? It just seems like there was some reason that they all of the sudden turned so cruel that the article doesn't tell us about. I think there were definitely ulterior motives for their actions...which brings me to...
My Question:
Why do you think that the people in the experiment kept going with it, even when their behavior got ridiculous? Do you think there were some people in the group that hadn't had a very good past together or did everyone just get so involved in the rush of power that they didn't want to back out, even though they clearly knew it was wrong?

I think that the powere did overcome them. The situation kind of morphed into a catch-22; if the "prisoners" quit the expirement, the "guards" might view them as weak or think they weren't able to handle a little cruelty. And if the "guards quit then they might be seen as soft or even also seen as too weak or kindto punish the "prisoners" even if they had been put in the "prison" for a reason.

KiraW said...

So this is certainly an interesting subject. There are a ton of great questions, but many of them are asking the same thing;

1. “What made the victim’s allow them selves to be victimized?”

2. “Why were the guards so harsh and cruel for something that was ‘just an experiment’?”

I think that the most logical answer for #1 is that they were trying to let the simulation (vocab word!) be as real as it could be. They were trying to make it look as if they were true prisoners. But my question is why didn’t they try to break out. It’s not like the guards actually had guns or anything that they could easily kill them with. They just had the title ‘guard’ and anything that they wanted to make come with it.

For #2, I am going more in the direction of what Mattn said for his answer. “I believe that people are born bad and have to be put into a good environment and role in order to succeed and become a good person.” If these guards were put into this role, they would naturally react in a way that is not really socially acceptable and in many aspects, harsh!

Just my thoughts. Great questions from everybody!

KateP said...

I just wanted to start off by saying that this experiment had to have a huge effect on the prisoners and guards to end in just six days! That is such a stressful condition to be put in on both sides.
For all the people who said the joker thing about Heath Ledger, I have never seen the movie but everyone always says that it was crazy how much he fit the role. I think that is really scary that that kind of role can change a person so drastically.
Sabrina- I think that the guards adapted so easily to their roles, because they had more power. They weren't the ones being punished and the guards could actually control the prisoners. This all leads back to The Crucible with the power.
I think that some guards were harsher then others, because of their past. It all matters where they came from and what they have gone through. This experiment might have just been the thing to push them over the edge.