Back in the 70's, some Ivy League professor got it into his head that maybe, just maybe, the conditions created by a prison could produce certain kinds of abnormal or antisocial behavior from people who were otherwise normal. So he got a group of students together, selected for their utter lack of psychological notoriety/criminal history, and created a simulated prison. Some students were guards, the rest prisoners, and the professor himself was acting as the superintendent.
Over time, everyone involved began to take the simulation too seriously. The guards went on horrifying power trips and began punishing the prisoners for minor infractions. One such consequence was later described as "simulated sodomy," which is a bit disturbing in its ambiguity. The prisoners apparently internalized their roles as subjugated persons so deeply that, despite sometimes being forced to sleep on the concrete floors and locked in solitary confinement for lengthy periods of time, they refused to leave the experiment early.
How long did it take for these normal people to lose so much of their sense of selves that outside administrators were forced to take action and shut down the experiment?
Six fucking days.
The notorious Stanford Prison experiment was the topic of a recent discussion, and we felt we would share it with you all.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. We will have a big announcement regarding the site on Friday, so make sure you're around for it.