Stanford Prison Experiment debunked

Discussion in 'theory, philosophy & history' started by bimble, Jun 15, 2018.

  1. bimble

    bimble noisy but small

    Found this really interesting, fifty years on from whats probably the most famous psychology experiment ever carried out, facts about how the thing was actually conducted come out that reveal it was basically a sham. So the conclusions we have drawn from it (people turn into sadists soon as they're given a uniform etc) can and should be unlearnt.

    The Lifespan of a Lie – Trust Issues – Medium

  2. killer b

    killer b Nostrofuckingdamus

    It's been debunked for years hasn't it?
  3. bimble

    bimble noisy but small

    The detail from participants is what's new, i think (saying they were acting) and that the lead who ran the experiment just basically admitted that he lied about the methodology for years (guards were told what to do and prisoners were told that they really could not leave the experiment).
    NoXion likes this.
  4. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    It's been criticised for a wide range of reasons but this is basically the 'experiment' 'leaders' being caught lying about what took place. Astonishing that no one listened to the tapes for 50 years, or if they did they either didn't notice what was going on or decided to keep quiet. (That itself might be interesting given that this was likely to be academic collaborators of the leaders).
  5. Idris2002

    Idris2002 chief propagandist (official)

    Astonishing? Pretty normal for academia, I'd say.

    I've a cousin who's whole world view is shaped by the Stanford Prison Experiment, he hugs it to him tightly like a security blanket. I'll send him this link. . .
  6. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist slowtime

    what is it about this that makes me think of golding and lord of the flies. About a willingness to believe and a willingness to further the idea that the savage beast is just under the surface, I've seen the enemy and he is us etc.
    ]Maybe I overthink it and it was just a good sham for a nice earner
  7. bimble

    bimble noisy but small

    One of the actual tapes: from 9 mins or so you can hear a guard being told that he has to be sadistic or else the experiment won't work. This was not spontaneous it was them being actively told to be 'tough' in order to help the higher purpose of the in-group.
    Tape ESPE
  8. Orang Utan


    Ursula Leguin's The Dispossessed is worth reading as a comparison - it is possible for. mankind to cooperate when necessary, rather than resort to selfish barbarity.
    Haven't finished reading it, mind, but it's lit up so many markers in my brain. Amazing book, esp with regard to communalism vs individualism
  9. Idris2002

    Idris2002 chief propagandist (official)

    E.P. Thompson was one of the few to notice the significance of the scene in LOTF when one of the younger boys laughs at the pig's head on a stick - not taken in by its use as totem, he sees that it's only a pig's head on a stick.
    DotCommunist likes this.
  10. Grump

    Grump Well-Known Member

    I was taught the SPE when I took psychology as a module of my degree. It resonated with me and was clearly cherished by the tutors who saw it as a perfect example of how humans can be shaped by a power structure. It was a few years ago when I came across a thorough debunking yet I doubt it will ever be truly discredited. Just like IQ tests it has entered popular thinking and will stay there.
    About the same time I came across Sheridan and King, who replicated Milgram's study on electric shock tests, but decided it would be better if it were done on puppies for real rather than pretend human subjects. It just left me thinking that a really good research project would be why psychology attracts such sadistic nut cases.
    pug, frogwoman, Almor and 1 other person like this.
  11. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Without music, life would be a mistake.

    Indeed. It's long been criticised, but not for actually faking. This is new. But as you say, shouldn't be!
  12. Brainaddict

    Brainaddict chief propagandist (provisional)

    This is one of those important parts of the folk mythology of our time, as so often hallowed with 'scientific' backup - the fact that it has been debunked hasn't really done much in public perception, so it would be nice if this extra info got a bit more exposure.

    These things are so hard to dislodge though. You call genes 'selfish' even though you admit genes don't have morality and moral words for molecular action are inappropriate, but once you've let the genie out of the bottle it's very hard to get it back in, particularly when it accords with the ideologies of the powerful.

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