Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment and Milgram’s Study

Zimbardo believed that his experiment was intended to gain insightful information about prisoners’ and guards’ behavior in prison, while Milgram’s study was aimed at finding out the extent to which people would go in obeying an instruction if the instruction involved causing harm to another person. Vis a vis Milgram’s Yale Obedience Study, Zimbardo saw his experiment as more practical as it involved a real process. He simulated the real conditions used when people are imprisoned. The researchers he worked with organized with the city police at Palo Alto to pick the prisoners up from their homes, search, handcuff and charge them. They were detained at the police station, had their fingerprints taken before being blindfolded, and led to Stanford’s mock prison.

The conditions at the prison were not different from the real prison. They were made to remove their clothes, sprayed with some deodorant, issued with marked uniforms, and had a chain around their ankles and hair covered in nylon. On their part, the guards were dressed in police uniforms and reflective sunglasses. Both the prisoners and guards were referred to by different nicknames. Conversely, Zimbardo argues that the fact that Milgram allowed his participants to draw straws to establish their roles was not an effective approach. Zimbardo also thought that Milgram restricted his study to the typical 50 minutes that are standard for all psychological studies. This is the average time taken by a class. But for himself, he was more flexible and targeted his experiment to rhyme with the schedules of students. He also thought that his participants were more stressed than Milgram’s respondents.

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