EXCELSIOR COLLEGE SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY FINAL EXAMINATION The final exam is to find a movie related to the class and write a 2 page personal reflection paper in APA style with at least 2 references.
Title: The Application of Social Psychology in the Film “The Stanford Prison Experiment”
Social psychology is an essential branch of psychology that investigates how individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by others and their social environment. This discipline explores a wide range of topics, including group dynamics, conformity, obedience, and the impact of situational factors on behavior. In the film “The Stanford Prison Experiment,” directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez, these concepts are vividly depicted through a dramatization of the notorious psychological study conducted by Dr. Philip Zimbardo in 1971. This paper presents a personal reflection on the film’s portrayal of key social psychological themes, highlighting their relevance and implications.
Conformity and Group Dynamics:
One fundamental concept within social psychology is conformity, which involves adjusting one’s attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors to align with those of a group. In the film, the participants’ conformity to their assigned roles as prisoners or guards is explored in great detail. The power dynamics that emerge within the simulated prison environment demonstrate how individuals can adopt and reinforce specific roles, leading to the emergence of oppressive behavior and even abuse.
As a viewer, the film prompts critical self-reflection, urging one to consider their own susceptibility to conform in similar situations. The depiction of the participants’ gradual adjustment to their roles as guards, becoming more authoritarian and cruel over time, illustrates the transformative power of situational factors on individual behavior. This portrayal resonates with social psychological theories such as the Stanford Prison Experiment itself, as well as Milgram’s studies on obedience, providing valuable insights into the potential for power dynamics and conformity to shape human behavior.
Ethics in Psychological Research:
Another significant theme explored in the film is the ethical considerations involved in psychological research. “The Stanford Prison Experiment” raises important questions about the potential harm that participants may experience when subjected to extreme psychological conditions. The ethical implications of the study, especially concerning the boundary between research and reality, serve as a reminder of the responsibility researchers hold in protecting the well-being of their subjects.
Parallels can be drawn between the ethical concerns of the Stanford Prison Experiment and the broader field of social psychology. Researchers must constantly evaluate the potential risks and benefits of their studies to ensure participant safety and well-being. This film serves as a poignant reminder of the ethical challenges faced by researchers and the need for stringent ethical guidelines to mitigate potential harm during experimental procedures.
The Role of Deindividuation:
Deindividuation, a concept within social psychology, is the process by which individuals in a group lose their sense of individual identity and adopt the collective behavior or mentality of the group. In “The Stanford Prison Experiment,” the deindividuation of both the prisoners and guards is evident throughout the study. The participants, immersed in the roles assigned to them, begin to exhibit behaviors that are contrary to their personal values and beliefs.
Reflecting on the film, one cannot help but question the potential implications of deindividuation in real-life scenarios. This portrayal highlights the power of social situations in eliciting behaviors that deviate from an individual’s usual moral compass. It underscores the importance of recognizing how group dynamics and environmental factors can influence individual behavior and serve as a catalyst for the emergence of harmful actions.
“The Stanford Prison Experiment” effectively captures various social psychological concepts, providing viewers with insights into the influence of conformity, group dynamics, ethics in research, and the role of deindividuation on human behavior. This personal reflection paper aimed to explore the film’s portrayal of these concepts, emphasizing their relevance and implications in broader society. The movie serves as a thought-provoking platform for engaging with and understanding the complexities of social psychology, encouraging viewers to critically examine the impact of situational factors on the individual. By delving into the ethical considerations in psychological research and the dynamics of conformity and deindividuation, the film underscores the importance of using our knowledge of social psychology to promote understanding, empathy, and ethical behavior in both research and everyday life.