10 Shocking Psychological Experiments Gone Wrong

The Stanford Prison Experiment

Psychology professor, Philip Zimbardo, conducted The Stanford Prison Experiment in 1971 to study the effects of becoming a prisoner, and a prison guard. The hypothesis was that the inherent personality traits of prisoners and guards are the chief cause of abusive behavior in prison. 24 males students were randomly selected and assigned either a prisoner, or a guard role. The experiment was supposed to last 14 days, but was terminated after only 6 because of the unethical ways the “guards” were treating the “inmates”. The prisoners were subjected to psychological torture, which included being stripped of their individuality, and solitary confinement. One-third of the guards were judged to have exhibited “genuine sadistic tendencies”, and some of the prisoners were emotionally traumatized. The shortened study concluded that the actual prison experience, and appointed roles had more effect on the participants behaviour than existing personality traits.
The Stanford Prison Experiment