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Stanford Prison Experiment

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101 Comments

  1. Dritan Memo says:

    Both videos by my opinion trying to give the message of how power changes and transforms people. It is amazing the way they connected the Milligram experiment with the “Prison” one, and both gave the example on how people that were involved on those experiments continued the experiment even though they knew they were harming the others. Something that I really want to share is that on the first video the person that was making the question wanted to stop the experiment when he realized that he was harming the other, on the other hand on the second video no one thought about stopping the experiment regardless the pain and harm they were inflicting. This made me think and truly believe that there are 2 type of people; 1 type that really care about other peoples feelings and 1 type that power gets into them and make them blind.

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  2. Daniela Oronda says:

    As for the obedience to authority I feel as though people didn’t want to even give an answer towards the end because they were scared that they were going to get the answer wrong and have to get shocked. In a way I think that it was wrong in doing so because the man was hurting and they didn’t want to stop the experiment. The man sounded like he couldn’t take the pain anymore and apparently they didn’t care which lead to people not even wanted to answer. But as for the second video I found that it was very humiliating what they were doing to the prisoners. Although they had last there rights for committing a crime that didn’t give them any privilege to treat them that way and make them do things like that. They also didn’t have the right to harm them. In a way it was similar to how the first video was because they were getting punished. just to see that there is a lot of cruel people out there that are violating other peoples rights.

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  3. BADR BEHLOUL says:

    It was very interesting watching this video i watched it twice i really like it , but i felt bad for the prisoners they way they used to torture and punish them . Also the way the guards were acting with the prisoners was so bad . If i was in this situation if i was a guard im sure i would have been way less rude and bad . Because i felt like they kind of enjoyed punishing them like they were nothing . Power in bad hands is a bunch of bad things that are going to follow for sure . Some people take the advantage of their power , work , situation , people that they know to do bad things in their favor this is the worst thing ever . In my religion we call this ‘ A DOLM ‘ and it is the worst thing you can do to someone is to take advantage of your power to do bad things to others

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  4. hongyu ma says:

    It was an amazing video which can let us learn a lot. I can’t believe that people can get into their roles very quickly, people who play the guards treat prisoners with more and crueler methods, and prisoners also melted into their part, becoming more and more inferiority. From this video, the environment has a great influence on the psychology and behavior of people living in it, and people cannot control and adjust their mentality when they fall into their roles. In fact, many healthy people violated the moral bottom line when they receive the authority and become more and more distortion.

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  5. Michelle Oliveira says:

    The only thing the “prisoners” did that was “wrong” was get assigned to be prisoners, had the coin be flipped the other way for them, they would be in control. Power can be an ugly thing, and this experiment completely exemplifies this. Power can be a man’s mask. I can understand how the first day of the experiment may not be taken too seriously because no one really knows what to do, but I think that when the guards figured out that they could do practically anything they wanted and could make the prisoners do whatever they wanted, that’s when everything took a dark turn. Humans are naturally selfish and the men who got assigned to be guards did not really bother to remember that the men who were prisoners were actually just as innocent as they were.
    When Dave Eshelmen, a guard in the study, says that he had decided to be the most feared guard I think he was just trying to fake it until he made it, but to his dismay, he faked it too well and the power went to his head. I also feel that there was a tinge of the effects of obedience to authority in this study because the men who were assigned to be guards were told by the psychologists (the authorities) that they were in charge, given no limits, the guards decided to go beyond every single one. This video is definitely eye-opening to how selfish and evil-spirited man can be when just given a different position to the other.

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  6. This video is about understanding human behavior. No one knows how ordinary human beings will behave, until they are putting in certain situations. Even people who consider themselves to be gentle and kind can become abusive when giving authority. The study demonstrated, that people will adapt to changing conditions. The fact that these prison guards were giving power to be responsible for the prisoners; they abuse their authorities because it made them feel powerful to have prisoners to submit to them.

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  7. Deslande says:

    First of all, I don’t think any human should be treated in such way. It’s so dehumanizing. Where’s the dignity ? I don’t think no one should have to go through what the prisoners went through, experiment or not. It didn’t even take them a long time for the prisoners to start having a mental breakdown. Imagine someone that is serving time, going through this day after day. Years after years. The emotional scars that will leave. Power is one of the most deadliest weapon in the wrongs hands. To think it was 30 years. I really hope we have a long way from this.

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  8. Laura Betancourt says:

    This video was saddening in many angles. The way that the guards dehumanized the prisoners and punished them for no reason was an injustice. The level they took it to was scary. Not only did the fake guards get carried away with their power but they might have really damaged the guys pretending to be prisoners. The idea that the experiment was even allowed to continue after the breakdowns seems unethical. Everyone in power seemed to go get carried away by what they were doing and studying that it took one person out of the study to make them realize how horrible they were all being. If it had not been for her being there and making everyone realize they were going too far makes me even more scared of what might have happened. I wonder if this happens in real prison systems besides the one in Iraq. Currently disgusted by all their behavior and im thinking how i can make a difference

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  9. Moises Angulo Caraballo says:

    Ok this was super disturbing! wow. I’m not even sure how this is legal but it did however show us a reality that can probably be observed in prisons all the over world. The sad thing is that these are regular people and not someone who is in that field or can be biased towards certain profiles etc. These are people whose mentalities completely changed once they were left without a higher supervision. It’s interesting because most prisons are privately owned, so who is supervising them to make sure things do not get to the point where human beings are no longer seen as humans?

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  10. mendo S says:

    After watching this video .. ‘Schindler’s list’ and another Indian movie ‘kala pani’ come to mind. it is probably seeing human beings strip naked of all semblance of dignity and sanity.. huddled together into groups and rows like herds of cattle. if you see it once, this feeling will stay long in you no matter what., this unethical experiment is carried out by the scientist who clearly didnt draw any line to deviate real world and the make believe world of his experiment. Dr Zimbardo himself got caught up in the event and is clueless and powerless in front of the changing human behavior in changing circumstances. on the other hand, I took in the whole experiment as Dr Zimbardo playing the role of god, assigning human different roles and creating them an environment, where in they which, they may perish or survive according to their behavior. no wonder in only 6 days , the experiment had to be called off. without a set of clear boundary or rules,” ordinary people perpetrated extraordinary abuses” with power in hand and mask on face. I also thought for a flash second yeah thats why we need religion, culture and civilization to give the garb of culture and civil society. left alone or without them, our inner nature is prone to commit folly and act evil?

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  11. yongting chen says:

    After watching this video, I’m really going to question how evil can human nature get to. What will happen next if we continue the experiment. Is this experiment really a fair and accurate representation of human growth and behavior in real life? Why people didn’t have any self-control without a set of clear boundary or rules, why there’s huge dramatic transition when they became a prisoner guard. I notice the guard behavior dramatic changed at the moment they realize the danger of the prisoners, so they reacted cruelly to stop the prisoners. However, this changes in behavior became permeant when they learned their power and authority over the prisoners. And one important factor leading to the growth of this harsh behavior is no one stop them from behave this way. So environment and experimenters allow the behavior make prisoner guard think it’s to be harsh and cruel to others.

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  12. Steven Trothen says:

    The first video, ‘Obedience to Authority,’ as stated, was inspired by the willingness of German soldiers to acquiesce to orders they knew to be immoral. What was most telling in that video was that subject asked who would be taking responsibility should harm come to the other subject. That desire, just as in the ‘Bystander Effect’ videos, demonstrates a willingness for people, as a general principle, to ‘pass the buck’ to someone else. That when perceived with the threat, we look for others to take the reign. This quality is particularly disheartening about human nature.

    In the second video, ‘The Stanford Prison Experment,’ one of the subject, post testing, had it in his mind that he would see how far he could take it. The experimenters did not intercede, the authority figures, and this was most troubling. Authority figures and our willingness to subject to that leadership, influence our behaviors for better or worse in the most gravest of circumstances. They can either influence for better or worse and, in the absence of one, cause people with minor amounts of authority to act with impugnity. To the greater theme of moral authority, or claims of, there should be broad checks and balances on such.

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  13. Jenny Builes says:

    I feel like people like to fill fantasy roles in this case the correctional officers. It definitely surprised me when one officer decided to stir things up and everyone else followed his lead. What disappoints me about this experiment is that although the some people were “prisoners” the officers knew those people were non-criminal and they did nothing wrong but still decided to treat them like they committed a crime. I loved how in the end Dr. Zimbardo reflected his experiment onto his personality, saying that his girlfriend told him that this is not him.

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  14. arpana says:

    This video was amazing it’s definitely eye open video opening to how selfish and evil human being can be.I feel very bad the way prisoner got torture and punishment.I t is not necessary to kill the bad things need to be bad , sometime good things also kill a bad, even those I can’t believe that people can get in to their role very quickly.If I was in the guard i can’t be so rude.The intention of guard was good but can’t see such cruel situations.

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  15. Rejane Carvalho says:

    This experiment was horrible, both group got lost on the experiment. One part learning to take the abuse had a nervous breakdown. The other group learning how to practice the worst side of human beings in power pushing the limits of the prisioners… I think that this experiment had some level of trauma in both parties.

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  16. Fredline Gilles says:

    I was completed awed by this experiment, it was so interesting. When power is given, it gets to the persons head. In the beginning of the experiment, no one knew what to do. It was awkward, they didn’t know anyone, and they weren’t given specific instructions, they were alone. Being put in the situation they were in, the guards started to gradually realize that they have power, and can do what they want. Day by day, reinforcement got worse and worse. It got horrible to the point that the prisoners started having emotional breakdowns. It’s crazy how both the guards and the prisoners knew that they were both equally innocent, they haven’t done anything wrong, yet they are acting and displaying the exact same behavior that would be displayed in real life situations. Power is a dangerous thing. These guards realized what they could do, so they took advantage of the situation. The experiment shows us how selfish and heartless humanity with certain roles they are given.

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  17. KaLok Kwok says:

    My first feeling is extremely horrible, but after watching the whole video. I feel like this is normal. Why I have that thought? Because I think when there are no rules, and someone playing an authority men such as police. He eventually will become more aggressive since his role is very powerful. He can do anything he wants even if people don’t listen to him. He could just arrest the people or kill him in extreme case such as some police killed black people due to the uncontrollable mad situation. Those policies have a treat that someone tries to fight his authority. So they think they have the power to control anything- guns to clean all the treat. This experiment actually did proving the environment can change people in many different ways depending on what role are they playing. Dr. Zimbardo is the authority in this experiment, but he didn’t stop the prison guards when they were going too crazy. This illustrates the environment can change someone who is just watching the whole thing. Dr. Zimbardo could become cold blood, probably think of killing disobedience prisoners is nothing since they are useless and harm the society. They have no right to live. Moreover, I think this situation is still happening in the worldwide because authority could make people crazy when they have no rules to follow. The world is becoming more peaceful is because people would love to follow the social rules. If people start breaking the rules to get their authority, it might cause the war such as ISIS. Many people see this is a terrible experiment, but I think people don’t realize it can be happening in anywhere of the world right now. The environment is able to change a person to a different person. It could make a king people become a cold blood killer.

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  18. Shantal Petrie says:

    Its unbelievable to hear this took place in 6 days. My initial thought was how could anybody want to treat people like this. What would give someone a thought to “experiment” with individuals this way? Power is a crazy drug in itself in my opinion. Zimbardo had no idea that he was was impacted by what was taken place. He though he was running the experiment by simply observing, but did not understand that he was becoming conditioned to the acts of the guards. It took for his girlfriend to come in with fresh eyes to see the treatment of the people was horrible. It took for he to tell him that he had changed for it to click in his head. When you give some people power over other people and give them a mask to hide behind, they really can change and become terrible individuals. I’d like to know why? Is there nothing inside to let these people feel what they are doing is wrong even if no one else stops them?

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  19. Jonette says:

    While the experiment was very cruel and inhumane I think it is a valuable tool to show the influence of “power” and how it’s involvement with authority creates a negative and cruel atmosphere. This experiment reminded me of Milgram’s experiment as it also relates to appearance. White coats, prison guard garb. Nevertheless I am still saddened by the nature in which to prisoners suffered. It was very dehumanizing and hopefully something we could all learn from.

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  20. N K says:

    The experiment that Dr. Zimbardo did about the mock prison with the guards and prisoners was an eye opener. The experiment showed that the normal average human being is capable of doing very bad things when put into a position of power. Zimbardo’s guards started very meek and awkward when they were first put into the “Guard” role. Then, after a day, they started make the prisoners do things and humiliate the prisoners in order to grasp more power over them. After a couple days, they started to have more and more control over the prisoners and started to mentally break them. Throughout the video, Zimbardo and Haney were busy observing the situation, they didn’t stop the situation from getting too out of hand. It eventually led to a lot of the prisoners having mental breakdowns.

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  21. In my opinion this experiment was a major success. Even if it did or did not work in the way you were expecting. It is disturbing to see what a little power and authority can do to people even if they know its not real. Also, what being subjected to demoralizing tasks could do to your psyche. However it seems in these cases it was perception is the new reality.

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  22. FRITZA JEUDY says:

    I think that the experiment had its success even though it only lasted for six days. The guards subjected the prisoners to complain humiliation and torture. This experiment just goes to show the effect of someone with power and what they can truly do with it. The guards did horrible things to the prisoners, especially with their dehumanizing treatment. The experiment definitely can change the human behavior into a different perspective.

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  23. meryem dalil says:

    I’m in shock. When the pictures of Abu Gharib Prison become public, I thought, whoever did that to the prisoners can not be human, or be raised with human. Then the fact that they were solders I believed they were trained to do certain things without thinking, or having any feeling or remorse. And her we have a guy electrocuting others just because someone else is telling him to do so. It’s is scary how environment can have an impact on how we behave. The Stanford experiment is telling us that any one can become somebody else in certain environment. Any one can be Hitler, or the solders of Abu Gharib prison, if the environment is pushing to that direction. My question now is: What would I do if I was in any of these situation or to be exact environment ?

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  24. This video highlights how a powerful environment and a stressful situation alters human behavior in response to environmental factors. The parallel to Abu Ghraib illustrates that this is not “just an experiment” – human beings really do behave this way in real life,when presented with opportunity to have an absolute power over another human being and do not need to answer for their actions to anyone (at least not right way). What was particularly fascinating to me, is how quick the abuse escalated – within a day the “guards” started to mistreat “prisoners” and it only took 6 days for the situation to get completely out of hand to the point that the experiment needed to be shut down. Another interesting thing is how the situation itself led to an emergence of a “leader” among the guards who instigated the mistreatment initially and how quickly other guards followed his example.

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  25. ashley hodgdon says:

    This video was so disturbing and difficult to watch. All of the participants were normal everyday people who were taking part in the experiment but yet the ones that were given the title of the officer really let that power go to their heads. It completely took over them and they became these horrible people that found pleasure in mistreating others. Is that really what the feeling of power can do to even the best of people? Scary to think about that. The experiment resulted in the prisoners having breakdowns. I wonder if after the experiment some of them still suffered from that experience. Sometimes traumatic experiences stay with people and have lifelong consequences. That is a very sad outcome for people who were just trying to participate in a paid experiment.

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  26. Jasmine Gray says:

    The Stanford Prison Experiment was initially conducted with good intentions, which was to understand how the prison environment psychologically affected the guards and prisoners in a situation similar to Abu Ghraib. However, after only six days it had to be shut down due to how unethical it was. So many torturous events escalated within the span of only six days, which is hard to believe. It’s very hard to believe that clean-slated college students would be capable of what was demonstrated in this video here. The researcher or lead manager of this whole experiment was completely at fault for its continuation. The project should have been shut down as soon as the prisoners began becoming mentally affected and unstable. As soon as the health was put in danger, that’s when you know it’s gone too far.

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  27. MICHELLE YIN says:

    Although the experiment was a success, it disturbing to watch. With people going into the experiment healthy then going out with mental breakdowns and lifetime mental scars was unexpected to me. The video was fascinating to see the different changes that both sides had, with the prisoners becoming more and more tolerant while the guards became more and more violent. This experiment does portray the idea that if humans given the right amount of authority in a certain environment it could change who they are completely without the change even occurring to them. I just don’t understand the humanity in this kind of situation though, how is it possible for people to even treat others like that even if the environment happens to be bad?

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  28. This experiment shows a horrific side of human nature. Like the people that were assigned the role of the guards forgot who they really were and at some point I forgot that they were all chosen by random to play the role of the authority figure. At first they behaved like a normal guard would have, yeah they were kind of awkward in some way and the prisoners would giggle and stuff when they were given their orders but they still followed them. When the first guard started to become crueler I don’t think he was aware of the example he was setting, he was just seeing how the others would react and then they just got crueler and crueler and since they weren’t being told to stop they just thought it was okay. At first I thought the people that were in charge of the experiment would stop it when you could have clearly seen the guards lose their sense of what’s right and wrong and it surprised me that they needed someone else to tell them that it was really messed up.

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  29. Although this started off as an experiment and some would say it was successful, it was very disturbing. These people who were normal everyday people became inmates and officers. The officers at first did not know how to act, but once they got a taste of power things changed. The officers abused the power they felt they had by humiliating these inmates. Its like they completely lost themselves and any decency they had with this power. I think the experiment had good intention, but really what answers did we get from this, what did we learn? The people that participated as inmates will have lived with this experience forever and will carry the things that happened to them through life. It was really bothersome watching the way these people were acting and what was happening when these people were just trying to help with being in the experiment.

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  30. HAOXI WANG says:

    It was very was interesting and quite disturbing watching the film. That the power of authority really does change a person and they the way they act. From the perspective of the prisoners they realized that they no longer have a say in what they had to do anymore, there they slowly became more and more obedient following everything that was told to them by the guards. The guards on the other hand started off being a little shy and still adjusting to the position of power. However, they realized that they were in power and their behavior and they way they acted changed. With their misuse of power, it was scary to see the prisoners have mental breakdowns and stress attacks. Showing how power if used irresponsibly can get to a persons head and effect them negatively.

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  31. Sara Davie says:

    When the prisoners began to rebel and the guards began punishing them in physical ways, you knew right there they were changing because if they had stopped to think a second they would’ve realized that these are good people. As the experiment went on human nature was transforming and day by day the guards were becoming more intense and the prisoners were beginning to have mental breakdowns. They had taken the symbol of power to far. The experiment lasted six days and left some of these volunteers traumatized. The whole thing was cruel and probably shouldn’t have that long considering Zimbardo had the results he was looking for by day three.These normal people started to become the roles they had been playing and had to be reminded that wasn’t their reality. You would think that the ones who were given authority wouldn’t abuse it but that’s not the case. The guards forgot that it could’ve been them with the chain around the ankle, they forgot that this was all just an experiment. And while all of this is happening you have these psychologist sitting back watching but their way to proud of the result to even see what they were doing to these people.There should’ve been boundaries set and Zimbardo should’ve been watching to see if the volunteers tried to cross them rather than what they would do if they did.These prisoners were being humiliated and degraded and it wasn’t until his girlfriend said something for him to even realize the dehumanization he was putting them through. She pointed out that the experiment wasn’t only changing these volunteers but him as well. One can change quickly when playing a certain role and being placed in a certain environment but I didn’t think the person conducting it would be affected too.

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  32. YINGTING CHEN says:

    The title of the page, “Stanford Prison EXPERIMENT”, grabbed my attention every few seconds, reminding me that this was an experiment, controlled and manipulated by scientific minds and driven by reason, using participants who volunteered and signed up to be a part of it. Yet, it felt like something straight out of the worst new story that can possibly break out in a time of war, pages from textbooks recalling times of genocide and brutality on unimaginable levels. But nope, this was an experiment, and the people conducting it lost control long before they even realized it. They began in the name of science but changed themselves and traumatized their test subjects perhaps perpetually. Watching this was disturbing in every way it could have been for anyone who had any ability to care and emphasize, but it was also personally difficult because it reminded me of some of my personal fears regarding closets and dark tiny spaces, being controlled by anyone in any kind of way, having no liberty over my own existence. But this is real life too. And that thought haunts me more than maybe anything else about this, the fact that this was an experiment but so REAL, because this happens in real life in dark corners and long corridors where the sun doesn’t shine and people march in chains.

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  33. shakya723 says:

    After watching the video, I found the experiment very interesting but at the same time very disturbing. After watching the video I sort of feel bad for prisoners , because the officers take advantage of their positions and abuses their power. The torture and abuse had taken over in the six days that the experiment had lasted.Which leaves me uncertain about humanity and changes my view of human behavior as an overall.

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  34. Cameron Selfridge says:

    The “Stanford Prison Experiment” brought to light that fact that when placed in a certain role, people can drastically change for better or for worse. In this experiment, the prisoners had not committed any actual crimes and the prison guards had no experience in that line of work but as time went on, we began to see how giving a group of people power over another can lead to a drastic change in behavior on both sides. Once the prisoners began to resist the guards, some would think that the guards would have realized that these “prisoners” were actually innocent people and would have taken it easy on them. Instead, as the days went on, the guards became more and more hostile towards the prisoners, leading to several emotional breakdowns. Human nature overtook these guards as they became power hungry and fed off of breaking down and humiliating the prisoners for their own enjoyment and gain. I don’t think that anyone would have predicted this experiment to go down in the way that it did, but it still managed to expand our knowledge of human nature and how people change when given a position of power.

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  35. Kayla A says:

    The Stanford prison experiment is a lot like the Milgram experiment, in that we follow orders blindly because we assume they’re right. However, in this case, the Stanford experiment was based on an actual event that transpired and had real consequences for some people. This “obedience to authority” phenomenon is more than just a simple experiment…it has an incredible impact on today’s society. It’s disturbing to think about this situation happening around the world, and the number of people who would do something so morally wrong because a certain person or group tells them to do it.

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  36. victor dematteo says:

    This video was very eye opening and disturbing to watch. The experiment showed people can change based on what role they are brought in to. Its crazy to think that so many people would do something so wrong because a leader or special group has told them to do so.

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  37. The stanford prison experiment explored human nature at large and showed that change is a fact of life in humans , the acting prisoners committed no offense, and the guards untrained for that job, but we saw drastic change in behavior, one group exercising power over another and this causing pains and humiliation on the other group. even with no cause , changes in people occur once given opportunity and change to different persons than themselves.

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