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In 1971, Zimbardo, played in the film by Billy Crudup, then a psych professor at California’s Stanford University decided to conduct a two-week research experiment. Twenty-four male students, to be paid fifteen dollars a day for two weeks of their time, would be broken into groups of prisoners and guards to study what effects, if any, their roles would have on them. The “prison” was a set of empty offices in the basement of a campus building (it was summer and most of the faculty was away), furnished like prison cells. There were tapes and cameras. Zimbardo frankly expected that the whole thing would be rather dull.

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When I got to the classroomfor the binary math experiment, students were giving reports on famouspeople and were dressed up like the people they were describing. The studentI came in on was reporting on John Glenn, but he had not mentioned thedramatic and scary problem of that first American trip in orbit. I askedwhether anyone knew what really scary thing had happened on John Glenn'sflight, and whether they knew what the flight was. Many said a trip tothe moon, one thought Mars. I told them it was the first full earth orbitin space for an American. Then someone remembered hearing about somethingwrong with the heat shield, but didn't remember what. By now they werelistening intently. I explained about how a light had come on that indicatedthe heat shield was loose or defective and that if so, Glenn would be incineratedcoming back to earth. But he could not stay up there alive forever andthey had nothing to send up to get him with. The engineers finally determined,or hoped, the problem was not with the heat shield, but with the warninglight. They thought it was what was defective. Glenn came down. The shieldwas ok; it had been just the light. They thought that was neat.


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Essay on The Milgram Experiment - 558 Words | Major …

The experiment was met to measure the willingness of participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform an experiment that was against their moral views.


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In "On a Chinese Screen", notes from his encounters during a journey on the in 1920, Somerset Maugham relays his conversation with a great philosopher. The Chinese philosopher, who has studied in Berlin and Oxford, concludes that all wisdom is to be found within the Confucian canon. In a bitter mood, he denounces the modernity that is sweeping China, and extols the Confucian system of old: “Do you know that we tried an experiment which is unique in the history of the world? We sought to rule this great country not by force, but by wisdom. And for centuries we succeeded.” The philosopher is surely correct to draw attention to the uniqueness of the Chinese experiment.