Zimbardo is mainly known for his infamous Stanford Prison Experiment and his unethical actions resulting in the manipulation of the results of the experiment, as well as the loss of validity on the research. Zimbardo claimed to want to observe the results of putting ordinary people in these circumstances. Zimbardo wanted to prove that “Good people can be induced, seduced, and initiated into behaving in evil ways.” (Zimbardo, 2007). Yet Zimbardo told the guards exactly how to behave, which made the results useless and just turned the experiment into one huge role-playing game.
Due to the controversies, other psychologists think poorly of Zimbardo and what he forced these participants to do. He is also chastised for failing to follow proper guidelines when conducting an experiment, as Zimbardo foolishly decided not to employ an observer for the study, and even participated in the experiment by playing the prison superintendent. When compared with another study, it was found that the guards failed to fail into a similar role as Zimbardo’s guards, and the prisoners actually over powered the guards do to the lack of imposing authority (Reicher & Haslam, 2006).
Zimbardo was only convinced to end the horrific experiment because of his girlfriend at the time, Christina Maslach, as she witnessed what heinous acts Zimbardo had been inacting and had a lengthy argument with him until he finally decided to stop the abhorrent experiment. She has expressed that she was taken greatly aback by what she saw in the makeshift, subterranean prison and was surprised that none of the countless other guests to the horrid prison had seen any moral or ethical issue with the events that were occurring.
Maslach has also spoken about the film based on the experiment, describing the accuracy of the film as well as what was left out of the film, for instance, she explained that there had been a lot more going on between the guards and the prisoners than what was shown on the big screen.
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