The Stanford Prison Experiment


The Stanford Prison Experiment
Runtime: 29 min

In the summer of 1971 at Stanford University professor Philip Zimbardo set an experiment in which the basement of the Department of Psychology was converted into prison and the group of 24 volunteers was randomly divided into guards and prisoners.

This research, whose goal was exploring the social and psychological consequences of putting people in groups of unequal power, very quickly got out of control. The guards began to abuse prisoners and they all began to lose the boundary between experiment and reality, including the psychologist, who, instead of managing the experiment, began to run the prison he himself made. The study had to be discontinued after six days, although it was planned to last for two weeks. In this short BBC’s documentary, besides Professor Zimbardo, we also hear stories of the participants of the experiment: former “guards” and “prisoners”.

The Stanford prison experiment was inspiration for the German film Das Experiment from 2001.

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