Sociology Lecture notes power of roles

Sociology Lecture notes power of roles - III The Power of...

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III. The Power of Roles A. The Zimbardo Study The Zimbardo study (1971) (also called the Stanford Prison Study) considers the behavior of mature, stable, intelligent, middle-class college students who were asked to play roles. Twenty-four students were paid $15 dollars a day. The 24 students were randomly assigned to two groups. Half were asked to play the role of prison guards. The other half were asked to play the role of prisoners. Once groups assignments were made, the Palo Alto police literally arrested the students, whom Zimbardo defined as prisoners. They put them through the whole incarceration process as if they were real prisoners (e.g., the were picked up, booked, finger printed, and placed in a holding cell). At this point the "prisoners" were blind folded, their cloths were taken from them, and they were transported to Zimbardo's labs at Stanford. At this point the "guards" of Zimbardo's project took over (Zimbardo, 1971). The student-guards were told that they had to make the student-prisoners loose their sense of identity (e.g., college student) and accept their new identity as prisoner. Guards could not physically mistreat the student- prisoners, but they could intimidate. They were also given symbols of power and oppression such as billy-clubs. The prisoners arrived at "jail" with chains on their feet. They were often asked to strip and in the process guards would humiliate the prisoners. They would wake up prisoners at odd times (like 2:30 am) for cell searches (Zimbardo, 1971).
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  • Fall '11
  • Wrigley
  • Sociology, pseudo patients

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