Abstract Every man is born to be a leader however it has been proven that man cannot handle a role of power correctly A psychologist came up with the idea of putting college student in a facility in where each one of them were given different roles to play Somewhere given the role of a prisoner and others the role of a security guard Things were all fun and games until it got out of control The men in the Stanford facility were beginning to truly believe that they were exactly the roles that they were given The question is is it the power they can t handle or their psychological mindset There was a set of physiological variables that proved to have made ordinary people do things they wouldn't do before For example the security guards were given mirrored sunglasses to wear Which reflected as a mask When one has a way to mask their identity it gives them the ability to behave differently than what they would without the mask on The prisoners and guards were being dehumanized The powers of the situation transformed people The Human Experiment
A Study on Social and Behavioral Roles What happens when one decides to lock up good people in an evil place Does the good in humanity overcome evil or does evil succeed These are a couple of questions psychologist came up with while Stanford University conducted their dramatic experiment in 1971 The experiment deteriorated very quickly and showed the true dark and inhuman side of human nature Philip Zimbardo's experiment on prison life immediately exhibited how a person can simply let go of their own identity to fit into the social roles expected of them Haney Banks Zimbardo 1973 The end result of this experiment is still influential in psychology today As people we tend to take up on many roles in our everyday life suggesting different responsibilities that we may or may not be aware of We work hard at balancing all of our life responsibilities which could mislead one s life However we can choose whether we want to use our roles for good or not We have the ability to exceed and breaking free from the chains of negative roles that hold us down The Stanford Prison Experiment gave us a great perception into how extreme human nature will go to fulfill our given roles People will willingly adjust to social roles they are expected to play especially if the roles are as strongly stereotyped as those of the prison guards McLeod 2017 Each role is distinctive and becomes one with our identity Even though the experiment as whole was to study the psychological effects of prison inmates and guards it unleashed the true identity of how easily behaviors can be changed through participated roles
However there are multiple reasons to why this experiment was ethically unsuccessful yet very informative on both human behavior and role playing There were many reasons into why the participants of the experiment were heavily influenced into their assigned roles One main reason that may have affected their behaviors was the fact that there was a power hierarchy Even though this hierarchy was never real both the guards and the prisoners grasped this behavior into their identity The actions behaviors and attitudes of all involved changed drastically in the six days that the experiment was active The male participants started off psychologically and physically healthy as tested before the experiment by Zimbardo Zimbardo et al 1973 They soon changed into either sadistic aggressive guards or anxious compliant prisoners Zimbardo et al 1973 It took the experiment s premature ending to remind everyone of their own identities and that this was supposed to be a scientific study This experiment while only intending to study a small microcosm of human behavior uncovered truths that may explain our behaviors in a much broader sense In some ways everyone will be a prisoner or a guard at some point in their life because a guard is simply someone who limits the freedom of another person Parents spouses and bosses do this all the time And the recipients of this behavior Well they are the prisoners Zimbardo et al 1973 Even though this statement may seem somewhat pessimistic there may be a grain of truth in regard to the commitment to our roles and the consequences We make little concessions to our freedoms every day Our daily lives are dominated by rules and restrictions and that is not always a bad thing But I believe it is important to examine closely the restrictions posed by the roles present in one's life The heavy weighing expectations of our roles seem to form parts of our identity Are we as people greater than the sum of our roles Or are we truly defined by our roles and our roles alone
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