The 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, which alleged to show the dangerous results of putting individuals into positions of power over others, is reported to have been fake and acted out by participants.
“Not only was the Stanford Prison Experiment a sham, but it’s mastermind, Stanford psychology professor Philip Zimbardo, pushed participants towards the results he wanted,” reported the New York Post, sourcing an article by Dr. Ben Blum.
The experiment, which designated a portion of participants as the guards in a prison while the rest were prisoners, was reportedly stopped early after guards expressed high levels of cruelty, however, “unpublished recordings of Zimbardo,” and “interviews with the participants” show that the experiment was staged.
“There were no repercussions. We knew [the guards] couldn’t hurt us, they couldn’t hit us. They were white college kids just like us, so it was a very safe situation,” claimed participant Douglas Korpi, who was filmed having a breakdown during the experiment. “Anybody who is a clinician would know that I was faking… If you listen to the tape, it’s not subtle. I’m not that good at acting. I mean, I think I do a fairly good job, but I’m more hysterical than psychotic.”
Another participant, who acted as a guard, declared, “I took it as a kind of improv exercise… I believed that I was doing what the researchers wanted me to do… I’d never been to the South but I used a southern accent.”
According to the New York Post, the report has prompted calls for the experiment to stop being taught in schools, with UC Davis psychology professor Simine Vazire posting on Twitter, “Psychologists: please read this. We must stop celebrating this work. It’s anti-scientific. Get it out of textbooks.”
Psychologists: please read this.
We must stop celebrating this work. It’s anti-scientific. Get it out of textbooks.https://t.co/508HY8J4Hq
— simine vazire (@siminevazire) June 11, 2018