Reicher and Haslam (2006)

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By michelle2810
Words 469
Pages 2
Reicher and Haslam (BBC prison study)
Reicher and Haslam carried out this experimental case study to examine the consequences of randomly dividing men into groups of prisoners and guards within a specially constructed institution. The aim of the study was to create an institution to investigate the behaviour of groups that were unequal in terms of power, status, and resources.
The 15 participants were all male, and met the criteria of being normal, decent and well-adjusted individuals. They were recruited through advertisements in the national press and through leaflets. They were randomly divided into two groups of 5 guards and 10 prisoners with the 10th prisoner arriving on day 5.
Applicants went through three phases of screening: * Firstly, they completed psychometric tests that measured both social variables (authoritarianism, social dominance, modern racism) and clinical variables (depression, anxiety, social isolation, paranoia, aggressiveness, de-motivation, self-esteem, self-harm, drug dependence). * Secondly, they underwent a full weekend assessment by independent clinical psychologists. * Thirdly, medical and character references were obtained, and police checks were conducted.
The study was conducted within an institutional environment that was constructed inside Elstree Film Studios in north London. Prisoners were allocated to lockable 3-person cells that were located, together with showers. This was separated by a lockable steel mesh fence from the guards? quarters (a dormitory, bathroom, and mess room).
Participants could be both video and audio recorded wherever they were. All participants were told that physical violence would not be tolerated. Beyond this, however, it was stressed that the guards could act as they pleased.
After their briefing, the guards changed into their uniforms and practiced the procedure for admitting…...

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