Stanford Prison Experiment


Stanford Prison Experiment was a study that was conducted to determine the psychology of imprisonment. It was a simulation experiment that was carried out at Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. This has been dubbed as the classical psychological experiment regarding prisoners and even explains the prisoner abuse that was meted to the poor Muslim prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison in Cuba. The research questions were to know whether evil prevailed over humanity or whether humanity was suppressed by the evil? A further question was to determine the consequence of putting normal people in an evil place such as a prison. The simulated experiment of prison life was conducted in Stanford University by the students in the Summer term of 1971.

The Stanford Prison Experiment

Not only the posed questions were correct, but the simulation exercise was also conducted realistically to achieve accurate results. Accordingly, the results of the experiment nonplussed everyone who heard about the obtained results. The university students could not bear the simulated prison life for long and the simulated prison conditions were ended after 6 days only. Originally, the study was planned for 14 days. The long hours of imprisonment revealed that the students had become depressed while the guards had already become the most cruel.

The prison experiment was a resounding success even when it was called off prematurely. The prisoners were humiliated and embarrassed by the guards. The guards were cruel and even made the prisoners do menial tasks. They made the prisoners clean the toilet bowls with their bare hands rather than providing them any scrubs. The prisoners also broke and could no longer control their emotions.


The Stanford Prison Experiment was a success as real-life situations were created in the prison. It was found that the prison conditions were unbearable for any human being. It was also learnt that the guards had an inexorable tendency to humiliate and torture all prisoners. The guards were antithetical to the concept of a human being and treated all prisoners like animals. They always chained them with iron shackles and trammels and did not even let them sleep at night time. At the same time, all prisoners were acutely depressed and despondent. They strongly believed that they were in that Hell forever and that there was simply no escape. This was the sole reason that they had started to sarcasm about prison break. This was another way of venting their spleen on the cops and those responsible for jailing them.