Even if you have no interest in psychology, learning about some famous psychology experiments can teach you tons about society and how people work. Psychologists are constantly searching for the underlying reasons people act the way they do. Some of these experiments have taught us about basic human behaviors that we can see in our everyday life. Some of these famous psychology experiments might not be considered “ethical” by today’s standards, but they were very important not only for the psychological community, but for all.
1. Stanford Prison Experiment
One of the most famous psychology experiments was also considered one of the most unethical. Stanford psychologist Phillip Zimbardo turned a basement into a fake prison and filled it with regular college students. Half were given the role of prisoners and half were given the role of guards. Zimbardo wanted to test how situation impacts behavior. He never in a million years expected that these normal college students would take their roles so seriously. The guards began to harass the prisoners and the prisoners started to become overwhelmingly stressed and anxious. The study was originally intended to last 14 days but was cut short after 6 days because the situation became too intense to continue. Zimbardo had unknowingly discovered how our situations have a profound impact on our behavior, and sometimes not in the best way.