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Abu Ghraib vs. Stanford Prison Experiment

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Mikaya Ali
AP Psychology
3B
Abu Ghraib vs. Stanford Prison Experiment
In 1971 Professor Philip Zimbardo conducted an experiment where he wanted to know the
psychological effects of being a prisoner/prison guard. This experiment was famous because
Zimbardo subjected the prisoners to psychological torture, which was very unethical. The
experiment was cut short after 6 days, because some people got to comfortable playing their
roles. Abu Ghraib was an interrogation site for people who were suspected as terrorists. Both of
these sites had very extreme and abusive themes, causing an uproar in controversy.
The Stanford Prison Experiment was only conducted for 6 days by Philip Zimbardo. It was
originally intended to be for 2 weeks. In this time Zimbardo wanted to see how this social
experiment affected the mental and physical health of the ” prisoners”. In doing so he wanted to
imitate life in a real prison. He assigned people roles such as prisoners and guards.
Abu Ghraib was a period in Iraq during 2003 and 2004 around the time of the war in Iraq. The
premise was to interrogate terrorists, this went on for almost a year. The methods were extreme
compared to anything at The Stanford Prison. During Abu Ghraib, they would do things as
extreme as sodmy, urination, and pouring acid on the “detainees” as they called them. Zimbardo
was actually a witness to the Abu Ghraib Trials because of his affiliation with The Stanford
Prison Experiment.
17 soldiers and officers were removed from duty, and 11 soldiers were charged with offences
including, battery, dereliction of duty, maltreatment and aggravated assault during Abu Ghraib.
Other officers were dishonourably discharged from duty, sent to military prison, reprimanded for
dereliction of duty or demoted.
Sources
“Individual Differences in the Stanford Prison Experiment.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers,
www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/unique-everybody-else/201309/individual-differences-in-thestanford-prison-experiment.
Team, PsychLiverpool. “PsychLiverpool.” PsychLiverpool - A Community For Meaning Making, 19 Sept.
2016, www.psychliverpool.co.uk/psychology-news/social/abu-ghraib-real-stanford-prison-experiment/.
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