In the prisoners and to enforce them any way


In the 1970’s an experiment took place in the basement of Stanford’s
psychology department building. Dr. Zimbardo’s main goal was “To investigate
how readily people would conform to the roles of guard and prisoner in a
role-playing exercise that simulated prison life”. (McLeod, 2017, p1) He made a
placebo jail with cells, randomly selected volunteers to be either a prisoner
or a guard. Leaving the guards to make a set of rules for the prisoners and to enforce
them any way they seem fit. Rule number seventeen being failure to obey any of
the above rules may result in punishment. The first question that comes to my
mind after reading this is rather this experiment is ethical or unethical. I
will be supporting that it is unethical. Two ethical guidelines I want to make
clear they broke was avoiding harm, psychologist do not knowingly engage in
behavior that is harassing.  As it states
by the American Psychological Association 3.04 Avoiding Harm (a) Psychologists
take reasonable steps to avoid harming their clients/patients, students,
supervisees, research participants, organizational clients, and others with
whom they work, and to minimize harm where it is foreseeable and unavoidable “(ADA)
This was completely broken the inmates were abused and exposed to psychical and
emotional harm. Not letting the volunteers leave at any time is breaking some
ethical guidelines as well, they were not real prisoners. Their involvement should
have been completely up to them. In our book, it says they should be able to discontinue
without penalty. Note in your mind there was a penalty in the general information
given to the people interested in the experiment “failure to fulfill this
contract will result in a partial loss of salary accumulated.” Prisoners had
severe affects from this including depression, anxiety and stress. Who would
ever let such a dehumanizing experiment take place, after exploring this
experiment I’ve came to the conclusion that this would not be allowed to take
place today. Guards were challenged their authority after the first night, which
led them to strip and taint the “inmates”. This sounds pretty unethical to me
but keep in mind this was a different time period. Zimbardo was not an
objective leader he was a part of the experiment himself being the “warden”. His
basic concepts didn’t seem so bad, and proved the prison really does have a corrosive
effect of human beings. He exposed a group of innocent volunteers to a
degrading and humiliating experience. What we learned from this is that when
you take an ordinary person out of their everyday environment and dehumanize them
you get an unhuman result. As well as the effects of giving young men authority
without any experience of being a guard. The scientific method talks about
critical thinking something I believe Dr. Zimbardo did not do. He should have
been open minded and not assume everything was going to go smoothly, and he should
have been more cautious rather his information was correct or not. He identified
a problem area I will give him that, but did he construct a research design. The
potential end results should not justify what had went on in this experiment. They
could have done observations on real inmates and guards in a real prison, with
a real warden. Why do we conduct research? The purpose is to prove a potential
theory, gather information of trends, make society better as a whole and promote
mental health in terms of treatments and understanding diseases. It wasn’t hard
for me to decide that the end results do not in any way justify what Zimbardo has
done to these innocent volunteers.