Description: The stories behind two of the most well-known and perhaps notorious social psychology experiments remain fascinating as well as topically applicable to the current human situation. Zimbardo’s Stanford prison experiment and Milgram’s study on the suppose it affects of punishment upon human learning are the basis of two recent documentary style films and both are well worth looking for.
Source: Film Websites and Film Festival Sites
Date: October 12, 2015
Links: Experimenter web site http://experimentermovie.com/
Much has been said about the ethical issues related to Milgram’s and Zimbardo’s experiments but in addition much is also been said about the questions raised by these two studies. Recently, documentary films focusing on these studies and the research psychologists who conceptualized and ran them to become available. Both films released this year and are currently making the rounds film festivals big and small from the Sundance festival to the Calgary film Festival. I have not had an opportunity yet to view these films but from what I’ve read they’re both worth viewing and would certainly be worth viewing with a group of other people interested in discussing their applications for psychology and for society. If you go to the film websites you can find updated information about the availability of these films on DVD and/or through theatrical release. We strongly encourage you to find them and watch them.
You could say we are puppets. But I believe that we are puppets with perception, with awareness. Sometimes we can see the strings. And perhaps our awareness is the first step in our liberation.
— Stanley Milgram
Questions for Discussion:
- Does the unethical nature of both of these studies have implications for how we ought to think about and view their results those results suggest about human nature and the human condition?
- What were the fundamental big questions that Zimbardo and Milgram sought out to address in their studies?
- What other sorts of studies or other investigative strategies might we try we are still interested in addressing the kinds of questions raised by Zimbardo and Milgram, especially if we wish to do so in an ethical manner?
References (Further Reading):
Zimbardo, P. (2007). The Lucifer effect: Understanding how good people turn evil. New York. lucifereffect.com.
Griggs, R. A., & Whitehead, G. I. (2015). Coverage of Milgram’s Obedience Experiments in Social Psychology Textbooks Where Have All the Criticisms Gone?. Teaching of Psychology, 42(4), 315-322.