What happens when you put good people in an evil place? Does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph? These are some of the questions researchers posed in this dramatic simulation of prison life conducted in the summer of 1971 at Stanford University.
Like the Milgram authority-figure and Asch conformity experiments, how they tested these questions and what they found is disturbing. Their two-week investigation into the psychology of prison life had to be ended prematurely after only six days because of what the situation was doing to the college students who participated. In only a few days, our guards became sadistic and the prisoners became depressed and showed signs of extreme stress.