Stanford Prison Simulation Question, social science homework help

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Please create your own thread and respond to several of your peers. Minimum of two responses required weekly.

Topics this week:

1. Stanford Prison Simulation: Look for some of the information on the Standford Prison Simulation. Phillip Zimbardo maintains a website for the experiment, linking it to contemporary issues like the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib during US military action in Iraq. You should also be able to link this to World War II. Please look at this website and provide your reactions in terms of the legitimacy of this kind of research. Feel free to be totally honest.

As you think about the experiment, think about things like Nazi Germany when seemingly ordinary citizens behaved in very extraordinary ways… and not always good ways.

Think about what motivated them to alter their ‘regular’ behaviors. How many of us would alter our behavior under dire and stressful conditions?

OR, perhaps even better:

A Similar Experiment

Go here to consider this one:

Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale University, conducted an experiment focusing on the conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience.

He examined justifications for acts of genocide offered by those accused at the World War II, Nuremberg War Criminal trials. Their defense often was based on “obedience” – that they were just following orders of their superiors.

The experiments began in July 1961, a year after the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Milgram devised the experiment to answer the question “Could it be that Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them all accomplices?” (Milgram, 1974).

Milgram (1963) wanted to investigate whether Germans were particularly obedient to authority figures as this was a common explanation for the Nazi killings in World War II.

Milgram selected participants for his experiment by advertising for male participants to take part in a study of learning at Yale University. The procedure was that the participant was paired with another person and they drew lots to find out who would be the ‘learner’ and who would be the ‘teacher’. The draw was fixed so that the participant was always the teacher, and the learner was one of Milgram’s confederates (pretending to be a real participant).

You can choose to read about Stanley Milgram‘s experiment/s on obedience. Same things.. think about what motivated these people to alter their behaviors and continue the experiment.

Check out the movie that depicts this quite successfully: Experimenter (2015)

I watched it recently on either Netflix or Amazon. It was well done. And it did explain very nicely Milgram‘s motives. It also pointed out the flaws in his research.

Here are some sites to assist:  (Re: Milgram – A movie you might want to see)

2. Read the first 3 chapters of Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Shyphillis Experiments. Cite three things from your reading that made a strong impression on you and discuss them here.


OPTIONAL: Go read about the Institutional Review Board and the Belmont Report and explain how the advent of the Institutional Review Board and the Belmont Report might have affected this type of experimentation (Stanford Prison) and discuss the changed meaning of appropriate research. Click on research ethics at

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