This is a post by Michael Glover, my twin brother. He lives in Wasilla, AK, with his wife Megan, and their 2 high maintenance cats.
This weekend I accidentally made one of the best decisions of my life. I read an article my wife was writing an abstract on for her college English class. “The Stanford Prison Experiment”. A psychologist, Philip Zimbardo, wanted to “study the process by which prisoners and guards learn to become compliant and authoritarian.” (Zimbardo)
He picked 21 volunteers, they were all (except one Asian) average, middle-class, Caucasian, college age males. They were to participate in a 14-day simulation of a real prison, without the actual violence, rape, etc. real prisoners face.
He built a mock-prison in an empty area of the Stanford campus, and randomly assigned 10 to play the role of “prisoner” and the other 11 “guards”. Role-playing only. Fantasy. Not real life.
The prisoners were “dehumanized” immediately, lost all freedom, identity and the guards controlled even bathroom visits.
The guards were “deindividualized” with identical khaki uniforms and aviator style reflective glasses. The only training they received was the directive to maintain law and order.
Long story short, Zimbardo terminated the experiment after only 6 days and nights, because the fantasy became their reality. As the guards became more aggressive, prisoners became more passive.