Conclusions that Can be Made on the Basis of the Stanford Experiment

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Sherman’s defiance theory questions the likelihood of a person offending a community based on that community’s reaction to how criminal sanctions are given (Cullen, Agnew, & Wilcox, 2018, p. 217). The prisoners endured severe punishment and humiliation when they did not obey the guards’ orders. For example, when they first arrived at the prison, they were stripped naked, searched from head to toe, and made to wear a dress with no undergarments underneath. They were also stripped of their identity when they were referred to by an ID number, not their name, and by having their entire hair shaved off, taking away a part of what made them unique (Zimbardo, “3.

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Arrival”, 2015). Additionally, the guards would harass the prisoners and abuse the power they were given once they donned their guard uniforms. They showed no regard for the well-being of the prisoners.

As an example, the guards would have prisoners do push-ups, sometimes with the weight of one of their fellow inmates on top, as a punishment for disobeying the rules (Zimbardo, “4. Guards”, 2015). Based on the Stanford Experiment, one can conclude that at the beginning of being imprisoned, prison induces defiance in an inmate.

The inmate might react according to the punishment or sanction they receive. They might respond by disobeying the guards’ orders, refusing to partake in daily activities such as eating or showering, or isolating themselves from the others. However, as time passes, inmates can either deter or defy committing crimes. Some inmates might assimilate and obey the guards’ orders because they know that they will have to deal with the punishment and consequences that might arise from resisting. One of the reasons this happens is because, in prison, an individual loses their identity and becomes a number. By stripping away their identity, they become powerless.

For instance, in the Stanford Experiment, when the prisoners were given the option to possibly leave the experiment and be put on parole, they agreed that it would be a great option. However, when they were told to go back to their cell, the prisoners complied without questioning and returned to their cells (Zimbardo, “8. Conclusion”, 2015). In other instances, defiance still prevails in prison. Prisoners might become more frustrated and even angrier than when they were first imprisoned. They construct a negative image of their harassers and abusers; these feelings subsequently encourage them to act in vengeance against those who torment and exploit them.

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Conclusions That Can Be Made on the Basis of the Stanford Experiment. (2023, Mar 09). Retrieved from