Rethinking the Psychology of Tyranny Podcast

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Reicher and Haslam carried out this study to examine the consequences of randomly dividing men into groups of prisoners and guards within a specially constructed institution over a period of 8 days.This study attempted to create an institution to investigate the behaviour of groups that were unequal in terms of power, status, and resources. The method used was an experimental case study. It is a case study because it was a detailed study of a group of people and it was an experiment because a number of interventions (independent variables) were introduced at specific points of the study.

The 15 participants were all male, and met the criteria of being normal, decent and well adjusted individuals. They were recruited through advertisements in the national press and through leaflets. They were randomly divided into two groups of 5 guards and 10 prisoners. For ethical reasons only people who were well-adjusted and pro-social, scoring at low levels on all social and clinical measures were included in the study.

Three podcast are available one with Reicher speaking, one with Haslam and the third is the full version with both :

Reicher Version

Haslam Version

Full Reicher & Haslam Version

The BBC Prison Study website has a wealth of information on the study and Mark has a great summary of the study on his ste too.

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