The Pathology of Imprisonment

You are what I say you are.

I watched the Stanford Prison Experiment a year or two ago, not for any particular reason other than documentaries, in any language, are my only TV addiction. The article in Henslins book titled the Pathology of Imprisonment discusses some of the consequential discoveries that came about through Dr. Zimbardo and Stanley Milgrams experiment in which they constructed only for the purpose and hope of contributing to prison reform. Zimbardo, conducting this in the basement of the psychology departmentand even in a mock scene, felt it necessary to call off the experiment after only a week, due to the actions of the role-players, in which their behaviors could no longer be distinguished from play to reality. His study on the psycological effects of becoming a prisoner became more real than he ever expected, as well as the effects of the chosen guards. He origionally felt it was going to be a long and boring experiment, and quickly realized that it is far to easy for humans to become a product of their environment. He proved that there are a set of social psychological variables that can make ordinary people do things that they would normally never imagine themselves doing. In his experiment, there was no clear set rules and this in itself contributed to the breakdown and chaos of the experiment. He has helped us, as a society, know that foundations and rules are detrimental to our success as a unit. Without them, humanity falls apart and individuals behave in animalistic and non productive manners.

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