Story Questions Conclusions of ‘Seminal’ Prisoner Abuse Study

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The conclusions drawn from a 1971 role-playing study of prison psychology, considered a seminal experiment into the nature of evil, are being called into question, reports the Los Angeles Times. The government-funded study at Stanford University made a psychology star of Philip Zimbardo, the professor who led the research. He concluded there was something inherent in the social structure of prison – powerful guards and powerless inmates – that could make ordinary people do evil things. The study is mentioned in nearly every introductory psychology and sociology textbook, and the documentary Zimbardo made about the experiment is shown in . . .

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