Reconsidering the Stanford Prison Experiment

July 13, 2011

Stanford's alumni magazine has published a new oral history of the "prison experiment" 40 years ago in which some students played the part of jailers and others prisoners, and the abuse of the latter by the former making the study one of the most discussed social science experiments of modern times. As a blog in The Wall Street Journal noted, some of the details may lead some to question how much the study revealed about human nature. For instance, one person who played a jailer said that he drew on acting experience to be intentionally mean. Another participant in the experiment said that he was high on drugs most of the time he was being studied.

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