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The Stanford Experiments

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A final note:

The Stanford Prison Experiment.

The Stanford prison experiment was a study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. The experiment was conducted at Stanford University from August 14–20, 1971, by a team of researchers led by psychology professor Philip Zimbardo. It was funded by the US Office of Naval Research and was of interest to both the US Navy and Marine Corps as an investigation into the causes of conflict between military guards and prisoners.

Twenty-four male students out of seventy-five were selected to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building. The participants adapted to their roles well beyond Zimbardo’s expectations, as the guards enforced authoritarian measures and ultimately subjected some of the prisoners to psychological torture. Many of the prisoners passively accepted psychological abuse, and, at the request of the guards, readily harassed other prisoners who attempted to prevent it. The experiment even affected Zimbardo himself, who, in his role as the superintendent, permitted the abuse to continue. Two of the prisoners quit the experiment early, and the entire experiment was abruptly stopped after only six days. Certain portions of the experiment were filmed, and excerpts of footage are publicly available.

Now keep this in mind when understanding rules based systems

The findings of this experiment ere profound:

If you’re going to create rules, rules and punishment were witnessed to have seen getting harsher and harsher without external controls.

And this was true for a simple group of students who were randomly assigned as prisoner or prison guard.

Now interestingly enough, when roles were inverted, there didn’t appear to be any lessons learned.

Mentally, it was as if they had forgotten what it was like to be a prisoner, and instead, became harsher and harsher, vindictive in fact.

The experiment literally had to be halted because of the abuses that began to occur.

The researchers concluded that humanity is just that fucked up.

For me, this was a lesson in the holographic nature of reality and the lack of intellectual mechanisms humans in general had in learning from the experiences of others and the previous roles we ourselves had played. The PRIOR single minded nature of humanity.

That is: It exhibited a simple lack of empathic development.

More on that experiment can be seen here.

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