This module is based on an experiment conducted at Stanford University. It was designed to demonstrate the effect of situational forces in prison on personal identities. It examines the situation regarding the values and morality of prisoners, guards, and other prison personnel and the relationships that develop.
The site provides a complete look at the famous Stanford Prison Experiment run by Philip Zimbardo, supported with video clips and photographs of the actual events. Discussion questions are provided as well as links to related materials, including connections to events at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
The major learning goal is to develop an understanding of the effect of prison on all its constituents such as prisoners, guards, and prison administrators.
Target Student Population:
The target student population is graduate and undergraduate students of general and applied psychology, sociology, criminal justice, politics, and prison management.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
This does not require a prerequisite. Knowledge of general psychology, principles of sociology, and criminal justice will be beneficial to users. Political science and religious studies students who have an interest in criminal justice are potential users.
Type of Material:
Textual material organized chronologically, tracing the experiment from conception through completion and follow-up. Video clips and photos of actual events complement the textual material. Discussion questions are provided to direct learning. Text of an interview and video concerning connections between the Prison Experiment and events at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq are also provided. The module is a simulation study of the psychology of imprisonment on the participants.
It is recommended that this material be used as a group or team activity with individuals who are mixed racially, culturally and economically. This should enable individuals with different experiences, values and beliefs to share and express varying points of view. They will engage in discussions about the information and make conclusions based on the interpretations,
conflicts, etc. Parallel situations are included in this site to enable teams and/or individuals to observe and discuss the conclusion, similarities, differences, and implications.
Internet access and browser
Evaluation and Observation
The module is clear, current, relevant, and focuses on the simulation. It provides access to recent parallel situations with similar issues. The content is accurate and gives an excellent summary of the study shown in the slides. It also provides a description and demonstration of the concept and has an adequate amount of material. The material is not overwhelming.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This module can be a very effective teaching tool. Links to other sites validate the study and provide comparative materials for discussions and/or assigned written tasks. The site has primary sources such as the simulation, articles, and forums. The simulation builds on previous concerns about the issues by showing the effects of the interrelationships. Students should be able to easily use the site with the slides and available links to locate the information required to prepare assignments/tasks.
The site encourages discussion with its direct link to discussion topics as well as having topics dispersed among the slides. There are also links that make the module available in five languages.
In addition to being a resource for the classroom, the module can be used to provide information to students who are interested in the topic. Those persons may include individuals who receive information about prisoner abuses and want to understand the system, and those who are involved in making related policies.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The design of the site is simple. Its clear links to other pages and related sites, makes it easy for users to navigate. It is engaging, and allows interested users to interact with each other by using electronic forums.
Other Issues and Comments:
This is a very professionally developed and put together site.