ERIC Number: EJ1077406
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
The Stanford Prison Experiment in Introductory Psychology Textbooks: A Content Analysis
Bartels, Jared M.
Psychology Learning and Teaching, v14 n1 p36-50 Mar 2015
The present content analysis examines the coverage of theoretical and methodological problems with the Stanford prison experiment (SPE) in a sample of introductory psychology textbooks. Categories included the interpretation and replication of the study, variance in guard behavior, participant selection bias, the presence of demand characteristics including the contribution of the guard orientation, and the ecological validity of the prison. In general, results revealed minimal coverage of problems with the study, with only two of the 14 textbooks citing any critical articles. The majority of textbooks presented the study in a fashion consistent with a "power of the situation" interpretation with no account of a more theoretically robust study, namely the BBC prison study, nor mention of methodological shortcomings. A review of the post-SPE criticisms and suggestions for addressing the landmark study in introductory textbooks are included.
Descriptors: Textbook Content, Introductory Courses, Content Analysis, Institutionalized Persons, Experiments, Social Psychology, Personality Traits, Correctional Institutions, Bias, Security Personnel, Personnel Selection, Ecology, Validity, Power Structure, Psychological Studies, Criticism
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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