The Influence of the Film Stanford Prison Experiment of One’s own Interests

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I first realized I had an interest in psychology after seeing the film “The Stanford Prison Experiment.” Having researched the real-life experiment the movie is based on, I started to wonder what underlying psychological theories were at play. Ever since watching the movie, I started analyzing both my own and others’ behavior in everyday situations, coming up with explanations for why they were doing what they were doing and contemplating how their behavior would change under various circumstances. For example, when the “guards” in the Stanford prison experiment were given items indicating high status and power, such as mirrored sunglasses to prevent eye contact, they began to assert authority over their prisoners by humiliating and harassing them.

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I wanted to pursue my interest further and found a psychology course for high school students at the University of Tartu that I successfully completed. The course introduced me to the fundamental topics of psychology, but more importantly, it confirmed that it really is something I want to study at a higher level. I started reading books about psychology and psychological experiments. I read the book “Pavlov’s Dog: And 49 Other Experiments That Revolutionized Psychology” by Adam-Hart Davis, which provided me with a good general overview of the experiments psychologists have carried out to understand human thought and behavior better. One of the experiments I found especially interesting was one carried out by Edoardo Bisiach in 1978, which illustrated that brain damage can lead to a one-sided view of the world. For example, people who have suffered damage to the right side of their brain eat food only on the right side of their plates. Although they haven’t lost vision in the left field, their brain simply can’t process information. The book also sparked my interest in conducting experiments myself in the future.

I want to learn psychology to get a better understanding of the reasons behind people’s actions. I often come up with different theories about how people’s behavior is connected to their biological adaptations. For example, some people decide not to express their unique clothing style because it differs greatly from others’. To avoid persecution, they choose not to stand out. University studies would provide me with the formal tools to engage in this type of thinking. I am most interested in consumer behavior and see myself working in that field in the future because I am fascinated by how consumer behavior can be influenced by their emotions. This can be done by using clever psychological tricks like catchy commercial jingles to increase customers’ willingness to purchase products.

I have worked extensively with children, including those with special needs, at my local youth center. My job was to teach children about different cultures, for instance, those of southern European indigenous peoples. I observed how children with behavioral disorders interact differently with their peers and others, which made me realize the importance of understanding various psychological conditions.

I have a lot of experience with voluntary work. Last year, I volunteered at an event called “Argument.” The aim was to boost the critical thinking skills of secondary school students. What I learned most from this experience was responsibility, as it was my task to ensure that speakers and participants were always where they needed to be and come up with solutions in a fast-paced environment. Working together with others as one team under a tight schedule helped me develop my time management and teamwork skills.

I feel that studying abroad has a lot of additional benefits. I get to live in and experience a completely different environment and culture compared to my home country, Estonia. One of the things I like about UK universities compared to Estonia’s is the wide variety of societies, which I look forward to joining.

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The Influence of the Film Stanford Prison Experiment of One's Own Interests. (2023, Mar 09). Retrieved from