Sunday, February 25, 2007

Stanford Prison Experiment

Sometimes it just seems like we don't ever learn anything.

In 1971, what has become known as the Stanford Prison Experiment should have taught us that it can be very damaging to people to put them in situations where one group has ultimate power over another group.

They intended to do a two week study of prison conditions to randomly assinging student volunteers as guards and prisoners and simulating prison life in the basement of the psychology building on the Stanford campus. After 6 days the obvious psychological damage done to the students (both prisoners and guards) was so severe that they stopped the experiment after 6 days.

It's a result that is covered in most basic psychology courses, but apparantly there's some 5th grade teachers and elementary school principals out there, who missed class that day.

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