Human However, Zimbardo purposefully constructs the atmosphere of his prison experiment to distress his subjects for results. Since both writers agree the settings of each experiment effect the subject’s behavior, their assumptions of the research become based on what causes the psychological change. To defend her view of environment settings playing a role in personality changes, Baumrind says, “the laboratory is not the place to study degree of obedience or suggestibility… since the base line for these phenomena as found in the laboratory is probably much higher than in most other settings” (Baumrind 225). Likewise, Zimbardo discusses the reaction his subjects have to the prison environment. The atmosphere in the prison allows both the guards and prisoners to become more in-depth with their characters, giving them the opportunity accurately to perform their role during the prison simulation.
Zimbardo notes, “as the guards become more aggressive the prisoners become more passive” (Zimbardo 244), thus, the prisoners believe, just as the teachers of Milgrams experiment, the guards have their best interest in mind, causing them to remain obedient. Aside from the atmosphere in which both Milgram and Zimbardos experiments occur, Baumrind believes the trust the teacher creates with the experimenter can also be a cause of psychological stress once purpose of the experiment is disclosed. She explains the “potentially harmful” emotional consequences, by arguing, “it could easily effect an alteration in the subjects self image or ability to trust adult authorities in the future” (Baumrind 227), because the realization that they could have hurt the “learner” becomes extremely hard to accept. She comments that the uncontrollable laughter, twitching, and in one case a seizure, could be factors that also promote lower self-esteem for the teacher at the end of the experiment. On the other hand, the guards and prisoners in Zimbardos experiment are aware of the situation Zimbardo creates and voluntarily accept the mental repercussions they may face.
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The guards are given the freedom to control the prisoners based on their own judgment. Reacting to this, the guards abuse their unlimited power and undergo psychological changes that question their character. One guard interviewed said, “I was surprised at myself”, noting the change in his behavior during the game. Another guard who was enthralled by having such authority stated, “we were always there to show them prisoners who’s boss” (Zimbardo 245). From Zimbardos findings he disproves Baumrinds belief that the subject must be aware of the situation to repress psychological discomfort, because his prison experiment also resulted in interpersonal changes. From Baumrinds Additionally, Baumrind and Zimbardo review the after-thoughts of the participants. Since the subjects in Milgrams experiment were unaware of the actual situation, Baumrind believes they are more likely to suffer from psychological trauma and in order for Milgrams experiment to be safe the subjects should have be informed of the dangers and serious aftereffects as result from the experiment.
Baumrind does not like the execution of Milgrams experiment and states she wishes to see changes of experimenting in the future. Both Milgram and Zimbardo did extensive follow up research to assure mental stability.