The Stanford Prison Experiment Revisited: Almost 50 years later


In this article, Professor Zimbardo considers his famous prison experiment that fundamentally changed our understanding of people and our role as researchers and practitioners.

Summary points

  • The Stanford prison experiment demonstrated the power of situational forces over otherwise good people.
  • Transformations are more likely where the social forces are powerful enough to overthrow the attributes of personal morality, compassion, empathy, or a sense of justice.
  • We can change systems and construct situations in which people are trained to act courageously against all forms of evil.
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