The Stanford Prison Experiment

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The Stanford Experiment is a chilling thriller that describes the dark side of power and imprisonments effects. It features very high profile and young actors including Miller, Sheridan and Thomas Mann. It was a psychological study of peoples response to life in the prison and its behavioural effects to both the guards and inmates. The experiment was conducted in the year 1971 by a team led by Professor Philip Zimbardo. Undergraduate students assumed the roles of Inmates and authorities living in a mock prison (IFC Films, 2016). It was written and directed by Talbott and Kyle Alvarez respectfully. This essay will summarize all the events and activities taking place in the experiment.

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A psychology professor supervised the experiment in which the students played the roles of prisoners and correctional officers. The project remained under development for one year. The original production of the movie was aired in the year 2015 in a film festival. The film had both positive and negative views about the director of the film, the screenplay and acting too. ICF Films Company released the thriller, and it has one hundred and twenty-one minutes running time. It was shot in English.

Professor Phillip Zimbardo conducted the experiment while testing the hypothesis of personality traits of the prison guards, and the prisoners as they were the main reason behind abusive relationships amongst them. Questions like what happens when a psychology student goes or does wrong. Twenty-four male students were selected to participate in prison simulation for 14 days. They are ordered to assume the roles of prisoners and authorities. The payment per day is as little as fifteen dollars in a day (IFC Films, 2016). The scene of the experiment is a mock prison situated in Jordan Hall, department of psychology at the University. Most of the students assuming the roles of guards become abusive. Unexpectedly, two scholars acting as prisoners quits the test early as brute force is used to them, and the psychology professor halts the experiment being six days old. The experiment was planned to take place for fourteen days. The results of the experiment astonished the world as a majority of the participants were transformed from middle-class undergraduates to individuals that were power hungry. They used extreme power, hence, suppressing their victims.

The experiment shows the imagery and authority power that people possess. It becomes unsettling as it practices the dehumanization techniques. It expresses the modern cruelty the authorities have and the unapproved force they apply to inmates. Ezra Miller articulates most of the instances of the inmates rebellions and reluctances. After him leaving the experiments, he is missed, and it breeds more vulnerability of weak volunteers. The operation lacked a female character with all the scientists being men.

The guards are the most vocal contributors in the experiment as they are motivated. The inmates feel irritated in their skins and most of the times are called for a rigid obedience failure to which they are exposed to harsh treatments. In conclusion, this experiment is an ideal relevance experimental film that bristles the young and talented youths. It remains standing as one of the best psychological tests in the United States.


IFC Films, (2016). The Stanford Prison Experiment | Discover the best in independent, foreign, documentaries, and genre cinema from IFC Films. | IFC Films. Retrieved 3 March 2016, from

Drury, S., Hutchens, S. A., Shuttlesworth, D. E., & White, C. L. (2012). Philip G. Zimbardo on his career and the Stanford Prison Experiment's 40th anniversary. History of Psychology, 15(2), 161.

Ramji, R. (2015). The Stanford Prison Experiment. Journal of Religion and Film, 19(1).

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