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Stanford Prison Experiment

Discussion in 'Science' started by Jason76, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. Jason76 Cat Moderator

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  2. jimbob Cat Moderator

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    There have been more recent experiments and even game shows based on this scenario. All results support the Stanford findings as far as I know.

    It is sad how cruel and controlling people can be if given power over others.

    It is also sad how weak and submissive people can be if they think it is serving a "greater cause".
     
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  3. Quality Checked Bird Moderator

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    "...and was of interest to both the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps as an investigation into the causes of conflict between military guards and prisoners." What sort of morons need to do experiment to find out why guards and prisoners have conflict. Excuse my language, but it should be fucking obvious. Prisons, prisoners, guards--what's not to understand?

    This is the kind of research that gives social science dubious results and a bad name. I don't know what sort of Institutional Review Board Stanford University had in place in 1971 when this experiment was done, but I'm pretty sure this experiment would be shot down now in the first round of review.

    There are elements at play in an experiment like this that do not apply to real life. College students here knew they were in an experiment, and naturally are going to perform in such a way that will please the experimenter. College students just are interesting in pleasing academic staff. It's the name of the game. You put them into a situation, students pick up clues, and they deliver what they think the boss wants.

    Does this experiment show that people can be cruel to each other? I don't know. I can think of tons of evidence in real life that validates the inhumanity of man more effectively than lame experiments do. Take Abu Ghraib. There we had a bunch of presumably upstanding American soldiers engaging in the physical and psychological torture of prisoners, AND taking pictures of themselves doing it, with various happy expressions on their (American) faces. Are Americans normally taught at home to behave this way? Almost certainly not. Wherever torture has taken place, it has almost always been conducted by ordinary types of people who went home at the end of their shift, read the paper, had supper, made love to their wife, and kissed their children goodnight. Sure, there are the psychopaths that don't feel much one way or the other who can torture without any personal feelings. There aren't enough psychopaths to go around, however, so it's your normal kids from Indiana, Arkansas, and California who end up doing this stuff (on our side).

    Inadequately supervised academics can get carried away with research plans. I was guilty of this myself in one research situation that was, mercifully, nipped in the bud before I brought it to fruition. It was just plan crazy, I see now. At the time it seemed ingenious, like a very good idea.

    A lot of facts can be determined by straight-forward observation. For instance, do children like the food they are getting in public school lunches? One could do research with the children till the cows come home, but a quicker, more accurate, and cheaper method would be to just analyze the garbage cans. What got thrown away?
     
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  4. Jason76 Cat Moderator

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    I don't know :D I really did like the pizza and corn.

    Right, of course the situation always gives way to the stuff we see in the experiment. Also, that's another reason why anarchy doesn't work, if think deeply and apply this to other things.
     
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  5. jimbob Cat Moderator

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    Anarchy does work in societies of small populations. That is because self-control is demanded of the individual members. In larger populations this demand for self-control cannot function. Therefore it cannot work in larger populations.
     
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  6. Jason76 Cat Moderator

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    But it's difficult to maintain the high US standard of living in a world full of hunter/gatherers.
     
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  7. Quality Checked Bird Moderator

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    Plus, we don't know whether the hunter-gatherers were anarchists or not. Maybe they were all communists.
     
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  8. jimbob Cat Moderator

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    While I don't disagree with what you said, who said they had to be hunter/gatherers? Smaller communities, fewer people all crowding into the big cities, which is where most of the crime is.
     
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  9. Jason76 Cat Moderator

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    Yeah but big cities like Seoul Korea or Tokyo Japan don't have nearly the same crime rate as US urban areas.
     
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  10. jimbob Cat Moderator

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    That's because the big cities of the US are more diversified and therefore there is more conflict between peoples of the different cultures.
     
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  11. Quality Checked Bird Moderator

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    No, diversity isn't the problem.

    New York City or Los Angeles (the larger metropolitan area) are packed with diversity, but the conflicts are mostly not between different ethnic groups. It's within groups.

    David Pinker in THE BETTER ANGELS OF OUR NATURE and others have evaluated this at some length.

    When you map out where in the US the largest number of fatal encounters take place, and who kills whom, here is what we find:

    The most violence occurs in areas where there is suspicion of centralized government, where personal honor is considered very important, and where individuals think DIY justice is appropriate. There is one distinct area of the country where this area is most common: the south, and places where southerners have gone.

    So, violent encounters (like resulting in death) are most common first in the rural and urban south. Large numbers of blacks migrated out of the south during and after the 1930s. Southern blacks, as well as southern whites, held these three values: suspicion about the government, personal honor, and DIY justice. Where blacks settled in the urban north (Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles, etc.) they maintained these features of southern culture. It leads to much higher rates of violence.

    Who doesn't have high rates of violence? The descendants of the Puritans (who had a much more 'state' oriented culture of building a society) and those from northern/NW Europe. These populations spread across the northern tier of states. Why? Because they affirm the value of government (particularly in resolving disputes), their concept of personal honor is not easily insulted (and people are not obligated to defend their honor by violence), and they do not believe in DIY justice. So, in states like Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Montana, Oregon, Washington, California, etc., one finds generally very low rates of violence except for the parts of cities where blacks live. It isn't being black, it's being southern. Puritans and Scandinavians, the Scots, Irish, English, and Germans do occasionally kill each other, but it's much rarer.

    This is a generalization. The demographics are granular, and it would take a hell of a lot of quoting and charting to fully explain this phenomenon.

    The south isn't the only area on earth where high rates of interpersonal violence occurs, of course, and it isn't as if the rest of the US has zero problems. But there are long-term historical reasons why southern culture is the way it is, going back to the types of English colonists who settled there. None of the colonies were run by yeoman farmers and trades people. They were all run by select members of the English ruling class of the 17th century. "Cavaliers" tended to be the members of the elite who took over southern colonies (in the 1600s). It was their somewhat individualistic, anti-social set of values that came to characterize southern culture. (None of us peons would have enjoyed living in any of the early colonies --north or south-- they were more like labor camps than anything else.

    Slavery, of course, had an effect on southern culture more than northern culture. Slavery and slave trading went on all of the colonies, but it was centered in the south. Then in the late 18th century and 19th century, cotton boomed, and with it slavery. It takes an authoritarian society to contain slavery, especially the sort that existed the US. (It's not exactly comparable to Rome.)

    Blacks weren't freed by the Civil War because a severe regime of repression followed, lasting into the middle of the 20th century. None of this was good for the black community, of course, and culturally, many urban black communities have tended to become, as Pinker put it, almost a different nation.

    There is another history of what happened to white folks in the south -- 98% of whom were not slave holders.
     
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  12. jimbob Cat Moderator

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    Not that I will ever git involved in such matters but yes, that would be something to consider.
     
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