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The famous Stanford Prison Experiment was a sham.

By Hugolas_Madurez following x   2018 Jun 14, 2:24pm 1,240 views   8 comments   watch   sfw   quote     share    

The Lifespan of a Lie

The most famous psychology study of all time was a sham. Why can’t we escape the Stanford Prison Experiment?

It was late in the evening of August 16th, 1971, and twenty-two-year-old Douglas Korpi, a slim, short-statured Berkeley graduate with a mop of pale, shaggy hair, was locked in a dark closet in the basement of the Stanford psychology department, naked beneath a thin white smock bearing the number 8612, screaming his head off.

“I mean, Jesus Christ, I’m burning up inside!” he yelled, kicking furiously at the door. “Don’t you know? I want to get out! This is all fucked up inside! I can’t stand another night! I just can’t take it anymore!”

It was a defining moment in what has become perhaps the best-known psychology study of all time. Whether you learned about Philip Zimbardo’s famous “Stanford Prison Experiment” in an introductory psych class or just absorbed it from the cultural ether, you’ve probably heard the basic story.

Zimbardo, a young Stanford psychology professor, built a mock jail in the basement of Jordan Hall and stocked it with nine “prisoners,” and nine “guards,” all male, college-age respondents to a newspaper ad who were assigned their roles at random and paid a generous daily wage to participate. The senior prison “staff” consisted of Zimbardo himself and a handful of his students.

The study was supposed to last for two weeks, but after Zimbardo’s girlfriend stopped by six days in and witnessed the conditions in the “Stanford County Jail,” she convinced him to shut it down. Since then, the tale of guards run amok and terrified prisoners breaking down one by one has become world-famous, a cultural touchstone that’s been the subject of books, documentaries, and feature films — even an episode of Veronica Mars.

The SPE is often used to teach the lesson that our behavior is profoundly affected by the social roles and situations in which we find ourselves. But its deeper, more disturbing implication is that we all have a wellspring of potential sadism lurking within us, waiting to be tapped by circumstance. It has been invoked to explain the massacre at My Lai during the Vietnam War, the Armenian genocide, and the horrors of the Holocaust. And the ultimate symbol of the agony that man helplessly inflicts on his brother is Korpi’s famous breakdown, set off after only 36 hours by the cruelty of his peers.

There’s just one problem: Korpi’s breakdown was a sham.


1   Ceffer   ignore (1)   2018 Jun 14, 2:31pm   ↑ like (4)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Nothing I hate more than fake sadism when there is so much real sadism to be nurtured.
2   jazz_music   ignore (6)   2018 Jun 14, 3:46pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

What are you going to believe 47 years later?
“What struck me later in life was how all of us lost our scientific skepticism,” Cullen says. “We became as ideological, in our way, as the climate change deniers.

... Though international comparisons are difficult to make, Norway’s maximum-security Halden prison, where convicted murderers wear casual clothing, receive extensive job-skill training, share meals with unarmed guards, and wander at will during daylight hours through a scenic landscape of pine trees and blueberry bushes, offers a hopeful sign. Norwegians prisoners seldom get in fights and reoffend at lower rates than anywhere else in the world.

We punish prisoners in America, it has become an investment business, we wax authoritarian about it, lobbyists influence economic demand for rising quotas of prisoners, yes, really, it is as simple as that.
3   NuttBoxer   ignore (2)   2018 Jun 15, 11:18am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

The outcome of the experiment was irrelevant from the git-go. All they needed to do was visit Phnom Penh or Auschwitz to learn about following orders.
4   MisterLearnToCode   ignore (4)   2018 Jun 15, 12:54pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Hassan_Rouhani says
There’s just one problem: Korpi’s breakdown was a sham.

Almost all the classic studies upon which Leftists depend for their world view are unrepeatable.
5   Hugolas_Madurez   ignore (5)   2018 Jun 15, 1:16pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

NuttBoxer says
The outcome of the experiment was irrelevant from the git-go. All they needed to do was visit Phnom Penh or Auschwitz to learn about following orders.

The SPE wasn't about "guards following orders". Because, officially, they weren't given any orders to abuse anyone. The reality, as it turns out, was a bit different.

PS. Read the article.
6   jazz_music   ignore (6)   2018 Jun 15, 1:51pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Hassan_Rouhani says
Read the article.


How DARRRRRE you ask that!!!!!!

7   Ceffer   ignore (1)   2018 Jun 15, 4:45pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Are you saying I need to actually read the article to have a valid opinion? What are you, some kind of snob?
8   NuttBoxer   ignore (2)   2018 Jun 18, 11:33am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Hassan_Rouhani says
The SPE wasn't about "guards following orders".

So you want to limit the scope to guards being guards? I don't know it's a difference worth distinguishing. When you are a guard in a place like Tuol Sleng, I doubt it matters. Following orders was just an excuse used by guards in both systems to justify their behavior.

Given the real life data, is the thesis any more valid if it excludes "Following orders"? Any way you stack it, it's still horseshit.

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