The BBC Prison Experiment
One of the most widely known studies in psychology is Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment which attempted to show the power of the situation and social roles on behaviour. Previous explanations suggest that group psychology always moves in the direction of extreme anti-social behaviour and when in a group individuals lose their self-identity (deindividuation) and become capable of barbaric acts.
Reicher and Haslam replicated (in part) this concept and recreated a prison environment to identify the effects of Social Identity Theory on how groups form and if tyranny occurs. They asked what are the conditions under which people DO or DO NOT assume (conform to) allocated social roles? To achieve this they to created an institution ‘like’ a prison to investigate the behaviour of groups that are unequal in resources, power and status. Read more about the study here.
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Other Reicher & Haslam Resources
- BBC News Article on The Experiment
- To see the full text of Reicher and Haslam go to full text articles.
- PsychExchange resrouces related to Reicher & Haslam.
- PsychClips videos about Reicher & Haslam.
- Learn and revise the Reicher & Haslam study with Holah.