Friday, January 31, 2020

The Stanford Prison Study and Obedience of the Masses Essay Example for Free

The Stanford Prison Study and Obedience of the Masses Essay The Stanford Prison Study conducted by Philip Zimbardo during the early 1970s showed the power of institutions to subject the masses to their own designs, despite the fact that institutions are generally represented by fewer people than the numbers constituting the masses.   Nevertheless, the study has been harshly criticized because it exposed its subjects to torture.   Seeing that scientific studies are essentially designed to benefit humanity at large, the fact that the prison guards inflicted torture upon the prisoners is despicable in the eyes of the scientific community.    The research should have been stopped at the first instance of torture.   However, conditions continued to worsen at the experimental prison created by Zimbardo (Macionis, 2005).      Ã‚  Ã‚  Even though the findings of the Stanford Prison Study are valuable in understanding human behavior, the study had been poorly designed because it did not exclude sadism as well as humiliation of the participants.   Nowadays, there are activists working against animal torture in scientific experiments.   But, the Stanford Prison Study included only humans in its design. The study is also criticized because its pool of participants was small.   What is more, Zimbardo had instructed the false prison guards to instill a sense of fear and powerlessness in the participants.   The prison guards were further instructed to work on stripping the participants off their individuality (â€Å"Stanford Prison,† 2007).   It is but obvious that an experimental design that does not control for sadism and dehumanization is unethical at best.   Besides, a scientific experiment that seeks to instill fear in the participants is comparable to terrorist acts in our times!   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Despite its careless design, the Stanford Prison Study has provided humanity with a helpful message against torture, in addition to blind obedience to authority.   In a situation where obedience is demanded of the common people, and those demanding obedience are assumed to be powerful enough to inflict torture if their demands are not met; the common people normally have no choice but to obey.   In the process, the latter may lose their peace of mind, and some might even have to bear the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder for as long as they live.   All the same, the entire world bears witness to the truth of subjection and obedience.   At all places in the world, the Stanford Prison situation has occurred in one form or another.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   While countless prisons around the world bear testimony to the fact that prisoners can be emotionally traumatized and jailers can be extremely cruel, a basic example of the situation could be witnessed in abusive homes, where family members must subject themselves to an abusive father or mother for the simple fact that the latter appears as powerful enough to inflict torture.   People are also known to subject themselves to cruel circumstances that are often created by bad governments and politics around the world. It is certain that most of the people of Israel and Palestine, for instance, do not wish to engage in war.   However, the factions that fight amongst themselves are powerful enough to inflict torture.   Hence, the common people feel traumatized and impotent enough to allow the painful situation to persist.   Despite the fact that the common people wish for peace, and are greater in number, the groups that invade their peace carry arms which give them a very powerful image.   This image is scary enough to make common people extremely obedient.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   As a matter of fact, the Stanford Prison situation is not unique by any means.   People subject themselves to powerful images at all times. Even so, the power of the Stanford Prison Study is the realization that human beings do not have to believe in images of power and subject themselves to torture.   This realization can be strengthened by modern-day conception of quantum reality – that is, we are not certain that the powerful images are real.   Indeed, it is possible for people to help themselves out of torturous situations. References Macionis, John J. (2005). Sociology. (Tenth Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson-   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Prentice Hall. Stanford Prison Study. (2007). Wikipedia. Retrieved 18 July 2007, from

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