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Feature Film - The Stanford Prison Experiment (Documentary)

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    [Man] I was the first one to be
    picked up, so they put me in a cell
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    they locked me in there
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    in this degrading little outfit.
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    [Guard] Hey! I don't want anybody laughing!
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    My way is the rule!
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    [unintelligible yelling]
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    [Man] I've gotta go to a doctor, anything.
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    [Man] Jesus Christ, I'm burning up inside dontcha know!
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    I want out!
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    I want out now!
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    [Man] I've never screamed
    so loud in my life,
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    never been so upset in my life.
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    It was an experience of
    being out of control.
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    [Man] I just fucking can't take it.
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    [Narrator] Stanford University,
    Northern California.
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    One of America's most
    prestigious academic institutions
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    and in 1971, the scene of one
    of the most notorious experiments
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    in the history of psychology.
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    [Zimbardo] I was interested in what happens
    if you put good people in an evil place.
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    Does the situation outside of you, the
    institution, come to control your behavior
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    or does the things inside of you,
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    your attitudes, your values, your morality
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    allow you to rise above
    a negative environment?
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    [Narrator] The negative environment
    Zimbardo chose to test his ideas,
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    was a prison.
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    He would convert the basement of
    the university psychology department
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    into a subterranean jail.
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    [Zimbardo] We put prison doors
    on each of three office cells.
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    In the cells, it was
    nothing but three beds
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    and there was actually very little room for
    anything else because they're very small.
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    And here we had solitary confinement,
    which we call "the hole."
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    And in the hole was where the prisoners
    would be put for punishment.
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    It was a very very small area.
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    When you close the door,
    it was totally dark.
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    All the guards wore
    military uniforms
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    and we had them wear these
    silver reflecting sunglasses.
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    And what it does is,
    you can't see someone's eyes
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    and that loses some the
    humanness, the humanity.
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    In general, we wanted to
    create a sense of power.
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    That the guards as a category, are
    people who have power over others.
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    And in this case,
    power over the prisoners.
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    [Narrator] A decade earlier,
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    psychologist Stanley Milgrim had also
    looked at how we respond to authority.
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    In order to understand how people were
    induced to obey unjust regimes
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    and participate in atrocities such as
    the holocaust, he set up an experiment.
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    Volunteers were told they were taking part
    in scientific research to improve memory.
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    [Experimenter] Would you open those and
    tell me which of you is which please?
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    [First man] Teacher.
    [Second man] Learner.
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    [Narrator] Separated by a screen,
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    the teacher would ask the
    learner questions in a word game
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    and administer an electric shock
    when the answer was incorrect.
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    He was told to increase the
    voltage with each wrong answer.
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    [Teacher] Cloud, horse,
    rock, or house? Answer?
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    [buzz]
    [Teacher] Wrong.
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    150 volts.
    Answer: horse.
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    [Learner] Ow! That's all! Get me out
    of here! Get me out of here, please!
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    [Experimenter] Continue please.
    [teacher gesturing, unsure]
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    [Learner] I refuse to go on! Let me out!
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    [Experimenter] The experiment requires
    you continue, teacher. Please continue.
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    [Narrator] Participants didn't know
    that the learner was really an actor
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    and the so-called shocks, were harmless.
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    [Teacher] Now you'll
    get a shock. 180 volts.
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    [Learner] Ow! I can't stand
    the pain, let me out of here!
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    [Teacher] He can't stand the pain,
    I'm not going to kill that man.
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    Who's going to take the responsibility if
    anything happens to that gentleman?
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    [Experimenter] I'm responsible for
    anything that happens here. Continue please.
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    [Teacher] Alright, next one.
    Slow, walk, dance, truck, music.
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    [Narrator] 2/3 of volunteers were prepared to
    administer potentially fatal electric shock
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    when encouraged to do so by what they
    perceived to be a legitimate authority figure.
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    In this case, a man in a white coat.
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    [Teacher] 375 volts. I think something's
    happened to that fellow in there.
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    I got no answer, he was
    hollering at all this voltage.
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    Can you check him to see
    if he's alright please?
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    [Narrator] Milgrim's
    findings horrified America.
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    They showed that decent American citizens
    were as capable of committing acts
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    against their conscious
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    as the Germans had been under the Nazis.
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    Like Milgrim, Zimbardo was interested
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    in the power of social situations
    to overwhelm individuals.
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    His experiment would test people's
    responses to an oppressive regime.
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    Would they accept it?
    Or act against it?
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    Zimbardo's experiment was conducted
    against a backdrop of Civil Rights activism
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    and protests against the Vietnam war.
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    [Zimbardo] It was a sense of
    student power, student dominance
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    and student rebellion
    against authority in general.
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    [Narrator] It was from the student body
    Zimbardo selected his participants.
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    After passing tests, to screen out
    anyone with a psychological abnormality,
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    they were paid $15 a day.
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    Each was randomly assigned
    the role of guard or prisoner.
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    [Man] It was a prison to me,
    it still is a prison to me.
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    I don't look at it as an
    experiment or a simulation.
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    It was just a prison that was run by
    psychologists instead of run by the state.
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    [Ramsay] I was 20, and that
    September I was going to college.
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    And it would be nice to have a summer job,
    but there sure wasn't a lot of time left.
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    And I looked in the want ads and I found
    this thing which was just going to fit.
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    It was just two weeks.
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    [Man] You put a uniform on,
    and are given a job
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    to keep these people in line.
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    You really become that person once
    you put on that khaki uniform,
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    you put on the glasses,
    you take the nightstick.
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    [Eshleman] I was on summer
    break from my first year of college
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    and I was looking for a job.
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    Had to chose between
    that or making pizzas.
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    And that sounded like a lot more fun.
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    [Narrator] As well as running the experiment,
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    Zimbardo took on the role
    of prison superintendent.
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    He began by briefing the guards.
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    [Zimbardo] I said, "We have to
    maintain law and order.
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    "If prisoners escape, the study is over.
    And you can't use physical violence."
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    [Zimbardo] You can
    create a sense of fear in them.
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    You can create a notion that their
    life is totally in control by us.
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    There will be constant surveillance,
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    we have total power of the
    situation and they have none.
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    [Narrator] Prisoners were
    brought to the basement prison,
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    blindfolded to confuse them
    about their whereabouts.
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    They were stripped and deloused.
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    [Zimbardo] of course the guards
    started making fun of their genitals
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    and humiliating them and really it starts
    what's known as a degradation process.
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    Which not only prisons, but lots of
    military type outfits use that process.
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    [Prisoner ] When I first got there,
    even though I had to strip,
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    and they would call me names, I still
    didn't feel at all like it was a prison.
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    I just looked at it like a job.
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    [Eshleman] I recall sort of walking
    up and down the very short hallway,
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    which was the prison hall
    and looking in on the prisoners.
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    And they're basically lounging
    around on their beds.
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    I felt it was like
    a day in summer camp.
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    [Zimbardo] The first day I said,
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    "This might be a very long
    and very boring experiment,"
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    because it's conceivable
    nothing will ever happen.
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    [Eshleman] I arrived independently
    at the conclusion
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    that this experiment must
    have been put together
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    to prove a point about prisons
    being a cruel and inhumane place.
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    And therefore, I would do my part,
    to help those results come about.
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    I was a confrontational and
    arrogant 18 year old at the time
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    and I said "somebody outta
    stir things up a bit here."
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    [Prisoner] Fuck this experiment
    and fuck that Zimbardo!
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    [Narrator] On the second morning,
    prisoners decided to stir things up as well.
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    The guards found some of them had used
    their beds to barricade their cell.
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    Prisoner 8612 was one of the
    ring leaders of the rebellion.
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    [yelling] ...Fucking simulation! It's a fucking simulated experiment!
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    [Indistinct yelling]
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    [Zimbardo] Initially I was stunned.
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    I didn't expect a rebellion
    because not much happened.
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    And it wasn't clear what
    they were rebelling against,
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    but they were rebelling against the status,
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    rebelling against being anonymous,
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    against having to follow orders
    from these other students.
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    [Narrator] As punishment for the rebellion,
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    prisoner 8612 was put in the hole and
    the guards turned on the other prisoners.
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    [Zimbardo] The guards felt that they
    now had to up the ante of being tough.
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    The prisoners made the mistake of
    beginning to use profanity against the guards
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    in a very personalized way.
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    So not against the guards, but now
    "you little punk" "you big shit" and stuff.
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    And the guards got furious.
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    [Guard] Everybody up! Everybody get up!
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    Well gentlemen, here
    it is time for count.
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    [Narrator] Prisoners were repeatedly
    woken in the middle of the night.
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    The guards made them
    do menial physical tasks
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    and clean out toilets
    with their bare hands.
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    [Eshleman] We made it a point not
    to give them any sense of comfort
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    or what to expect.
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    Anything could happen to them at any time,
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    including being rousted from
    their sleep at any hour.
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    And forced to stand up in a line
    and have me hurl insults at them
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    and make them do exercises.
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    When you interrupt people's sleep,
    they tend to become a little disoriented.
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    And since there was no daylight in the prison,
    they had no idea whether it was night or day.
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    I think that I was the instigator of this
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    whole schedule of harrassment.
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    [Narrator] The harassment of the guards
    took it's toll on rebellion leader 8612.
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    He told Zimbardo he wanted
    to leave the experiment.
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    Zimbardo responded not as a psychologist
    but as a prison superintendent.
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    [Zimbardo] I said, "Well, I can see to it
    the guards don't hassle you personally
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    and in return all I would like
    is some information from time to time
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    about what the prisoners are doing."
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    So essentially I'm saying "I'd
    like you to be a snitch, an informant."
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    And I said "think it over and
    if you still want to leave, fine."
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    [Narrator] Confused, prisoner
    8612 returned to his cell
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    and told the other prisoners
    that no one could leave.
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    [Zimbardo] He believed we wouldn't
    let him go, although we never said that.
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    But the fact that he was the
    ring leader of the rebellion
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    and he told the other prisoners
    "they won't let you leave,"
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    that really transformed the
    experiment into a prison.
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    [Prisoner] I was told I couldn't quit. And
    at that point, I just felt totally hopeless.
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    More hopeless than I
    had ever felt before.
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    [Narrator] Soon after returning to his cell,
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    prisoner 8612 started showing
    signs of severe distress.
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    [Prisoner 8612] Goddammit. Fucked up!
    You don't know, you don't know.
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    I mean, God, I mean Jesus Christ,
    I'm burning up inside, don't you know?
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    [Zimbardo] He came up with a
    plan that if he acted crazy,
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    we would have to release him.
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    [Prisoner 8612] I feel fucked up inside,
    I feel really fucked up inside. You don't know.
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    I gotta go to a doctor, anything.
    I can't stay here, I'm fucked up.
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    I don't know how to explain it,
    I'm fucked up inside! And I want out!
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    [Zimbardo] It starts with make-believe and
    then he's doing it and cursing and screaming.
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    You know, whatever that little
    boundary is, he moved across,
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    not that he became really crazy,
    but he became excessively disturbed.
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    So much so, we immediately said,
    "We have to release him."
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    [Korpi--prisoner 8612] As an
    experience, it was unique.
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    I've never screamed
    so loud in my life.
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    Never been so upset in my life,
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    and it was an experience
    of being out of control.
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    [Narrator] The boundary between
    reality and make-believe
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    was to become blurred
    even for Zimbardo.
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    A rumor circulated that released
    prisoner 8612 would return with friends
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    to liberate the remaining prisoners.
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    [Zimbardo] I quickly convinced myself that
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    my most important function was not to
    allow this prison liberation to occur.
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    And what could I do to keep my prison going?
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    Not the experiment going.
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    [Narrator] The prison was dismantled
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    and the prisoners were moved
    another part of the building.
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    Zimbardo waited in the empty
    corridor preparing to tell 8612
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    and his friends that the study was over.
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    When a colleague appeared
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    and began asking questions
    about the scientific basis of the research.
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    [Zimbardo] I'm trying to get
    rid of him and then he says,
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    "What's the independent variable?"
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    I got furious, because he doesn't understand
    that there's a riot about to take place,
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    that this prison is about to erupt.
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    I had totally lost this whole other identity
    of scientist, researcher, psychologist.
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    [Narrator] The rumored jailbreak
    never materialized.
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    The guards had dismantled
    the prison for nothing
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    and had to rebuild it.
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    They took their frustration
    out on the prisoners.
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    [Zimbardo] They escalated
    again the level of control.
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    the level of dominance,
    the level of humiliating behavior.
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    [Narrator] 819 was the next prisoner to
    rebel against the harassment of the guards.
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    He barricaded himself in his cell
    and refused to take part in the count.
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    [Guard] You're not only
    not getting cigarettes,
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    but for as long as this cell's blockaded
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    you're going to be in
    solitary when you get out.
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    [Narrator] For 819's disobedience, the guards
    made his cellmates do mindless work.
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    This undermined any vestige of
    solidarity amongst the prisoners
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    who now chose to accept
    the tyranny of the guards
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    rather than risk further harassment.
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    [Eshleman] That was one of
    the surprising things to me was that
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    there was so little that the
    prisoners did to support one another
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    after we started our
    campaign of divide and conquer.
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    [Narrator] Isolated and
    distraught, prisoner 819
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    told Zimbardo he wanted to leave.
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    [Zimbardo] While I'm interviewing
    819, and saying,
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    "Okay, it's all over, thank you
    for your participation.
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    I'll give you money for the whole two weeks,
    even though you're leaving early."
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    He hears the prisoners
    shouting: "819 did a bad thing."
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    [Prisoners] Prisoner 819 did a bad thing.
    Prisoner 819 did a bad thing.
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    And he said, "I can't leave."
    And he's crying.
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    And he said, "I can't leave."
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    And I said, "What do
    you mean you can't leave?"
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    And he said, "No, I have to go back because
    I don't want them to think I'm a bad prisoner."
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    And that's when I really flipped
    out that in such a short time
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    a college student's thinking
    could become so distorted.
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    I said, "You're not a bad prisoner.
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    "You're not a prisoner.
    And this is not a prison."
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    And it was just this thing where
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    he opened up his eyes, really
    like a cloud being lifted.
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    [Narrator] Seeing things clearly, prisoner 819
    reverted to his original request and was released.
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    To replace him, the experimenters called
    in one of their reserves from the standby list.
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    [Ramsay] I got a phone call saying,
    "Are you still available as an alternate?"
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    Kind of a cheery, female secretary voice.
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    And I said, "Yes, sure."
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    And so she said,
    "Could you start this afternoon?"
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    And I said, "Yes, sure."
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    And my role in the
    experiment really began.
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    I was blindfolded and then
    stripped and supposedly deloused.
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    [Zimbardo] He came into
    a madhouse, full blown.
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    All of us, had gradually acclimated
    to the increasing level of aggression,
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    increasing powerlessness of the prisoners,
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    increasing dominance of the guards.
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    And he comes in and says, "What's
    happening here?" to the other prisoners.
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    And they said
    "Yeah, you better not make trouble,
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    it's really terrible, it's a real prison."
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    And he says, "I'm out of here,
    I don't want this."
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    And they said "No, you can't leave.
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    Once you're here, you're stuck.
    This is a real prison."
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    [Guard] 416 put your hands in the air
    or why don't you play Frankenstein?
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    293 you can be the bride of
    Frankenstein, you stand here.
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    [Narrator] Prisoner 416 was soon subjected
    to the harassment of Dave Eshleman,
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    nicknamed John Wayne
    because of his macho attitude.
  • 17:19 - 17:24
    [Guard] 416 I want you to walk over here like
    Frankenstein and say that you love 2093.
  • 17:26 - 17:28
    That ain't a Frankenstein walk!
  • 17:28 - 17:30
    [Eshleman] I made the
    decision that I would be
  • 17:30 - 17:35
    as intimidating, as cold, as cruel as possible.
  • 17:35 - 17:38
    [Prisoner 416] I love you 2093.
    [Guard] Get up close! Get up close!
  • 17:38 - 17:42
    [Prisoner 416] I love you 2093.
    I love you 2093.
  • 17:42 - 17:46
    [Guard] You get down
    here and do ten pushups!
  • 17:48 - 17:50
    [Eshleman] I had just watched
    a movie called Cool Hand Luke
  • 17:50 - 17:56
    and the mean intimidating southern
    prison warden character in that film
  • 17:56 - 17:59
    really was my inspiration for the
    role that I created for myself.
  • 18:10 - 18:12
    [Zimbardo] He was creative in his evil.
  • 18:12 - 18:18
    He would think of very ingenious ways
    to degrade, to demean the prisoners.
  • 18:18 - 18:23
    [Guard] What if I told you to get
    down on that floor and fuck the floor
  • 18:23 - 18:25
    what would you do then?
  • 18:26 - 18:30
    [Zimbardo] One of the best guards,
    was also on that shift
  • 18:30 - 18:34
    and instead of confronting the
    bad guard, the sadistic guard
  • 18:34 - 18:36
    essentially, because he didn't
    want to see what was happening,
  • 18:36 - 18:40
    he became the gofer, he went out to
    get the food and things of this kind.
  • 18:40 - 18:46
    And that left the John Wayne guard and the
    other guard on that shift to be dominant.
  • 18:46 - 18:49
    [One of the guards] We were
    continually called upon to act
  • 18:49 - 18:53
    in a way that is contrary
    to what I really feel inside.
  • 18:53 - 18:55
    Just continually giving out shit.
  • 18:55 - 18:59
    It's really just one of the
    most oppressive things you can do.
  • 19:01 - 19:06
    [Guard] 416, while they do pushups,
    you sing Amazing Grace.
  • 19:06 - 19:08
    Ready? Down.
  • 19:08 - 19:14
    [prisoner singing]
  • 19:14 - 19:16
    [Guard] Keep going.
  • 19:16 - 19:20
    [Narrator] The madness of the
    experiment started to affect 416.
  • 19:20 - 19:23
    [prisoner singing]
  • 19:23 - 19:25
    [Guard] Keep going!
  • 19:25 - 19:30
    >>[Prisoner 416] I began feeling like, I was
    losing my identity, until I wasn't Clay.
  • 19:30 - 19:32
    I was 416.
  • 19:32 - 19:36
    I was really my number and 416
    was going to decide what to do.
  • 19:37 - 19:42
    [Narrator] Prisoner 416 decided
    to go on a hunger strike.
  • 19:42 - 19:45
    [Ramsay] They were pushing my limits,
  • 19:45 - 19:47
    but here was the thing that I could do,
  • 19:47 - 19:50
    that could push their limits.
  • 19:53 - 19:55
    After I had missed a couple meals,
  • 19:55 - 19:59
    I saw this was not a matter
    of indifference to the guards.
  • 19:59 - 20:02
    I was making headway, they were upset.
  • 20:05 - 20:09
    [Eshleman] I thought, "How dare this
    newcomer come in and try to change
  • 20:09 - 20:12
    everything that we had worked
    for the first three days to set up.
  • 20:12 - 20:15
    And by God, he's going to suffer for that."
  • 20:16 - 20:20
    [Narrator] Frustrated by
    his continued defiance,
  • 20:20 - 20:23
    John Wayne threw prisoner 416 into the hole.
  • 20:23 - 20:26
    After punishing the other prisoners,
    for his disobedience,
  • 20:26 - 20:30
    John Wayne encouraged them to
    vent their anger at 416 directly.
  • 20:30 - 20:31
    [Prisoner] Thank you, 416.
    [bangs on door]
  • 20:33 - 20:37
    [Guard] Ok, 209.
    [Prisoner] Thank you, 416.
  • 20:37 - 20:41
    [Eshleman] We would use our nightsticks to
    bang on the door and we would kick the door
  • 20:41 - 20:46
    so hard it must've shaken
    him very seriously inside.
  • 20:46 - 20:48
    Scared the life out of him.
  • 20:49 - 20:53
    [Ramsay] He yelled at me, and
    threatened me and actually sort of
  • 20:53 - 20:58
    smashed a sausage into my face
    to try to get me to open up.
  • 20:58 - 21:03
    But I didn't have any intention
    of eating until I was out.
  • 21:05 - 21:08
    [Zimbardo] 416 should've
    been, at some level, a hero
  • 21:08 - 21:11
    'cause he's willing to oppose
    the authority of the system.
  • 21:11 - 21:16
    In fact, the prisoners accept the guards
    definition of him as a troublemaker.
  • 21:16 - 21:20
    [Eshleman] I remember some of them
    saying: "Would you eat goddammit!"
  • 21:20 - 21:23
    "We're sick and tired of this."
  • 21:23 - 21:31
    And that was proof that there was no solidary,
    there was no support between the prisoners.
  • 21:31 - 21:33
    [Narrator] While 416 was still in the hole,
  • 21:33 - 21:36
    John Wayne made a final
    attempt to break him
  • 21:36 - 21:38
    by giving his fellow prisoners a choice.
  • 21:38 - 21:42
    They could vote to release
    him by making small sacrifice.
  • 21:42 - 21:48
    [Guard] You can give me your blankets
    and sleep on the bare mattress
  • 21:48 - 21:53
    or you can keep your blankets
    and 416 will stay in another day.
  • 21:55 - 21:57
    What will it be?
  • 21:57 - 21:59
    [Prisoners] I'll keep my blankets.
  • 21:59 - 22:00
    [Guard] What will it be over here?
  • 22:00 - 22:01
    [Prisoners] I'll keep my blankets.
  • 22:02 - 22:04
    [Guard] How about 536?
  • 22:05 - 22:07
    [Prisoners] I'll give you my blankets
    Mr. Correctional Officer.
  • 22:07 - 22:08
    [Guard] We don't want your blankets
  • 22:09 - 22:09
    [Guard] We got 3 in favor of keeping their blankets.
  • 22:10 - 22:12
    We got 3 against 1.

  • 22:12 - 22:13
    Keep your blankets.
  • 22:13 - 22:19
    416 you're going to be in there for a while,
    so just get used to it.
  • 22:19 - 22:21
    [Eshleman] The study
    showed that power corrupts
  • 22:21 - 22:27
    and how difficult it is for people who are the
    victims of abuse to stand up and defend themselves.
  • 22:27 - 22:33
    Why doesn't anybody who is being abused
    by a spouse or something like that
  • 22:33 - 22:35
    just say "stop it?"
  • 22:35 - 22:38
    And we realize now that it's
    not as easy as it sounds.
  • 22:41 - 22:46
    [Narrator] By the end of the 5th day, 4
    prisoners had broken down and been released.
  • 22:46 - 22:48
    416 was on the second
    day of his hunger strike
  • 22:48 - 22:51
    and the experiment still had another 9 days to run.
  • 22:54 - 22:58
    At this point, a fellow psychologist
    visited Zimbardo's basement prison
  • 22:58 - 23:01
    and would witness the brutality
    of the experiment first hand.
  • 23:02 - 23:05
    [Zimbardo] The guards had lined up
    the prisoners to go to the toilet.
  • 23:05 - 23:08
    They had bags over their heads,
    chains on their feet,
  • 23:08 - 23:10
    and were marching by and I looked up.
  • 23:10 - 23:13
    And I saw this circus, this parade,
  • 23:13 - 23:15
    and I said, "Hey Chris, look at that."
  • 23:15 - 23:19
    [Christina Maslach] I looked up, and
    I began to feel sick to my stomach.
  • 23:19 - 23:22
    I had this just...
    chilling, sickening feeling
  • 23:22 - 23:25
    of watching this and you
    know, I just turned away.
  • 23:26 - 23:29
    And I just let loose
    in this emotional tyranny.
  • 23:29 - 23:31
    I just lost it.
  • 23:31 - 23:34
    I was angry, scared, I was in tears.
  • 23:34 - 23:36
    [Zimbardo] And I'm furious,
  • 23:36 - 23:38
    saying you know, we had a big argument.
  • 23:38 - 23:39
    You're supposed to
    be a psychologist.
  • 23:39 - 23:43
    This is interesting dynamic behavior
    and I'm going through this whole thing
  • 23:43 - 23:45
    the power of the situation.
  • 23:45 - 23:48
    And she says "No, no, it's
    that young boys are suffering
  • 23:48 - 23:52
    and you're responsible.
    You're letting it happen."
  • 23:52 - 23:55
    I said "Oh my god,
    of course you're right."
  • 23:56 - 23:59
    [Narrator] The next day,
    Zimbardo ended the experiment.
  • 24:01 - 24:07
    Studies like his stimulated heated debate
    about the ethics of using human subjects.
  • 24:07 - 24:11
    [Zimbardo] Really young men
    suffered verbally, physically.
  • 24:11 - 24:13
    Prisoners felt shame in their role.
  • 24:13 - 24:15
    Guards felt guilt.
  • 24:15 - 24:17
    So in that sense, it's unethical.
  • 24:17 - 24:22
    That is, nobody has the right, the power,
    the privilege to do that to other people.
  • 24:23 - 24:26
    [Narrator] In the wake of experiments
    like Zimbardo's and Milgrim's
  • 24:26 - 24:32
    ethical guidelines changed, introducing
    greater safeguards to protect participants.
  • 24:32 - 24:36
    In the Standford experiment, Zimbardo
    might have sped his volunteers distress
  • 24:36 - 24:40
    had he not taken on a dual role in the study.
  • 24:40 - 24:42
    [Zimbardo] If I was going to
    be the prison superintendent,
  • 24:42 - 24:45
    I should have had a colleague
    who was overseeing the experiment.
  • 24:45 - 24:51
    Who was in a position to stop it at any point.
  • 24:51 - 24:53
    Or I should've been the principal investigator
  • 24:53 - 24:56
    and get somebody who was going
    to be the prison superintendent.
  • 24:56 - 24:59
    I realized that was a big mistake,
    to play both those roles.
  • 24:59 - 25:00
    And by shifting back and forth.
  • 25:03 - 25:07
    [Narrator] After the experiment, Zimbardo
    brought all the participants together
  • 25:07 - 25:09
    to talk about their experiences.
  • 25:09 - 25:12
    John Wayne would now come face to face
  • 25:12 - 25:14
    with the hunger striker that he had tormented.
  • 25:15 - 25:16
    [Eshleman] I was a little worried.
  • 25:16 - 25:19
    I said "Oh my god, he's really
    gonna come down on me hard now."
  • 25:19 - 25:22
    Now that we're on equal footing.
  • 25:22 - 25:24
    [Ramsay] It harms me.
  • 25:24 - 25:26
    [Eshleman] How did it harm you?
    How does it harm you?
  • 25:26 - 25:29
    Just to think ((cross talk)) you know
    people can be like that?
  • 25:29 - 25:32
    [Ramsay] Yeah, it let me in
    on some knowledge
  • 25:32 - 25:34
    that I've never experienced first hand.
  • 25:34 - 25:37
    Because I know what you can turn into,
  • 25:37 - 25:39
    I know what you're willing to do.
  • 25:39 - 25:42
    [Eshleman] When I look back on
    it now, I behaved appallingly.
  • 25:42 - 25:45
    You know, it was just horrid to look at.
  • 25:45 - 25:48
    I think I tried to explain
    to him that at the time,
  • 25:48 - 25:51
    what you experience and
    what you hated so much
  • 25:51 - 25:54
    was a role that I was playing,
    that's not me at all.
  • 25:54 - 26:00
    [Ramsay] He was trying to dissociate
    himself from what he had done.
  • 26:00 - 26:03
    That did make me angry.
  • 26:03 - 26:06
    Everyone was acting out
    a part and playing a role:
  • 26:06 - 26:08
    prisoners, guards, staff,
  • 26:08 - 26:11
    everyone was acting out a part.
  • 26:11 - 26:16
    It's when you start contributing
    to the script,
  • 26:16 - 26:21
    that's you and thus it's something you
    should take responsibility for.
  • 26:21 - 26:24
    [Eshleman] Uh, I didn't
    see where it was really harmful.
  • 26:24 - 26:27
    It was degrading and that was part
    of my particular little experiment
  • 26:27 - 26:30
    to see how I could--
  • 26:30 - 26:32
    [Ramsay] Your particular little experiment?!
  • 26:32 - 26:33
    Why don't you tell me about that.
  • 26:33 - 26:36
    [Eshleman] Yes, I was running...
    I was running a little experiment of my own.
  • 26:36 - 26:38
    [Ramsay] Tell me about your
    little experiments, I'm curious.
  • 26:38 - 26:43
    [Eshleman] I wanted to see what
    kind of verbal abuse that people can take
  • 26:43 - 26:47
    before they start objecting,
    before they start lashing back.
  • 26:47 - 26:49
    [Eshleman] If I have any regret, right now,
  • 26:49 - 26:53
    it's that I made that decision,
    because it would've been interesting
  • 26:53 - 26:59
    to see what would have happened
    had I not decided to force things.
  • 27:01 - 27:06
    It could be that I only accelerated them,
    that the same things would've happened.
  • 27:06 - 27:08
    But we'll never know.
  • 27:08 - 27:12
    [Narrator] If the extreme nature of
    Dave Eshleman's behavior tested the prisoners,
  • 27:12 - 27:15
    it also presented the other
    guards with the choice:
  • 27:15 - 27:17
    to intervene, or not.
  • 27:17 - 27:19
    [Eshleman] It surprised me
    that no one said anything to stop me.
  • 27:19 - 27:21
    They just accepted what I'd say.
  • 27:21 - 27:23
    And no one questioned
    my authority at all.
  • 27:23 - 27:27
    And it really shocked me, why didn't
    people say when I started to get so abusive?
  • 27:27 - 27:33
    I started to get so profane,
    and still people didn't say anything.
  • 27:34 - 27:38
    [Zimbardo] There were a few guards who
    hated to see the prisoners suffer,
  • 27:38 - 27:42
    they never did anything that
    would be demeaning of the prisoners.
  • 27:42 - 27:45
    The interesting thing is, none
    of the good guards ever intervened
  • 27:45 - 27:50
    in the behavior of the guards who gradually
    became more and more sadistical over time.
  • 27:52 - 27:56
    We like to think there is this core of human
    nature that good people can't do bad things.
  • 27:56 - 28:01
    And that good people will
    dominate over bad situations.
  • 28:01 - 28:04
    In fact, one way to look
    at this prison study is that
  • 28:04 - 28:06
    we put good people in an evil place
  • 28:06 - 28:08
    and we saw who won.
  • 28:08 - 28:12
    And the sad message in this case is,
    the evil place won over the good people.
  • 28:14 - 28:17
    [Eshleman] It did show some very
    interesting and maybe some unpleasant things
  • 28:17 - 28:20
    about human behavior.
  • 28:20 - 28:24
    It seems like every century,
    every decade that we go through,
  • 28:24 - 28:30
    we're suffering the same kind of
    atrocities and you need to understand
  • 28:30 - 28:31
    why these things happen,
  • 28:31 - 28:34
    you need to understand
    why people behave like this.
Title:
Feature Film - The Stanford Prison Experiment (Documentary)
Description:

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Video Language:
English
Duration:
29:01

English subtitles

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