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10 Most Brilliant Social Psychology Experiments

Zimbardo's book devotes just one paragraph to Reicher and Haslam's BBC Prison Experiment, and he refers to it as a "reality TV Pseudoexperiment." Philip Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn Evil (Rider Books, 2007), p.252.

1. Briefly describe the problem (or research question), the hypothesis, procedure (participants, methods) and results of the study.
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Discussion - WritemyEssayOnlinehub

An early critique of Milgram and the Zimbardo's work is provided in Eric Fromm's book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (Pimlico, 1997 [1973]). On Milgram's experiments in obedience to authority Fromm concludes: "The main result of Milgram's study seems to be one he does not stress: the presence of conscience in most subjects, and their pain when obedience made them act against their conscience. Thus, while the experiment can be interpreted as another proof of the easy dehumanization of man, the subjects' reactions show rather the contrary -- the presence of intense forces within them that find cruel behaviour intolerable." (p.86)

Stanford Prison Experiment: Zimbardo (1973) Aims: To establish the extent to which behaviour is shaped by stereotyped expectations of role
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However, it is worth highlighting one of the most significant points made by Reicher and Haslam in their article that was "rejected" by Zimbardo, as they underscore the "profound and troubling social implications" of the traditional interpretation of the Stanford Prison Experiment. They continue:

09/11/2012 · Thirty-five years ago, one of us (Philip Zimbardo) launched what is known as the Stanford Prison Experiment
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Emotional Competency - Personality Traits

Stephen Reicher and Alexander Haslam, "," Psychologist, 21 (1), 2008, p.17, p.18, p.19. "Thus, in the specific case of the Stanford study, Zimbardo and colleagues argued that 'acts of guard aggression were emitted simply as a 'natural' consequence of being in the uniform of a 'guard' and asserting the power inherent in that role'." (p.17) With regard to historical studies, Reicher and Haslam draw attention to David Cesarani's study, Eichmann: His Life and Crimes (Heinemann, 2004), which suggested that Hannah Arendt's book Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963) "was, at best, naive. Not least, this was because she only attended the start of his trial. In this, Eichmann worked hard to undermine the charge that he was a dangerous fanatic by presenting himself as an inoffensive pen-pusher. Arendt then left. Had she stayed, though, she (and we) would have discovered a very different Eichmann: a man who identified strongly with anti-semitism and Nazi ideology; a man who did not simply follow orders but who pioneered creative new policies; a man who was well aware of what he was doing and was proud of his murderous 'achievements'." (p.17)

Human Knowledge: Foundations and Limits

Zimbardo informs his readers, the Stanford Prison Experiment was designed to assess "the extent to which the external features of an institutional setting could override the internal dispositions of the actors in that environment." The experiment thus attempted to assess "the extent to which ordinary, normal, healthy young men succumbed to, or were seduced by, the social forces inherent" in a bad system -- i.e., a prison. Male students consequently volunteered for this experiment on the understanding that they would be paid $15 a day (which they thought would be "easy money") for the fourteen-day duration of the study; and through a process of random selection nine individuals were allocated roles as prison guards (two of whom were brothers, with three guards serving on each eight-hour shift), and nine as prisoners (with three students in each prison cell).

Whole Concept List | Psychology Concepts

Philip Zimbardo, "On rethinking the psychology of tyranny: The BBC prison study," British Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 2006, p.47. For a comprehensive rebuttal to Zimbardo's contribution, see Reicher and Haslam, "Debating the psychology of tyranny." They write: "In sum, Zimbardo's criticisms are reminiscent of one of the key stratagems for saving a failing position identified by the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer: 'if you observe that your opponent has taken up a line of argument that will end in your defeat... you must effect a change of debate' (2005, p. 95). Zimbardo consistently turns a conceptual debate about tyranny into a technical debate about prison conditions. But the conceptual debate is what is at issue." (p.58)