Mon, 12 Apr, 2021

The Experiment: From My Point of View

By Sneha Parajuli

August 30th ‘017 was the day on which our English mentor Menosh had planned to show us a movie called “ The Experiment”. In the previous class, she asked us to think about the question “Does status change behavior?”. I tried to think a lot about the question but I couldn’t find the answer. Eventually, after watching the movie I was able to understand how status changes people’s behavior. I finally found the answer. Talking about the movie, I researched a bit about it. It was a  movie inspired by an actual 1971 prison experiment. In this movie, there was a team of scientists who were conducting a psychological experiment which involved 20 men. Those men were divided into 2 groups, one group was assigned the role of prisoners and the other group was assigned the role of prison guards. They had to follow a set of basic rules which were: prisoners must wholly eat 3 meals a day; there will be 30 minutes of recreation daily; prisoners must remain within chosen areas. The guards in turn must safeguard prisoners obey the rules, and deal with offences commensurately within 30-minutes. There was one main condition that stressed that the experiment would end immediately at the first sign of forcefulness or quitting. If they manage to follow the rules for two weeks, each man would be paid $14,000. But no one knew what the consequences would be like. Though they were instructed to maintain order without being violent, no one was able to follow it. The volunteers had been friendly with each other before the experiment had started. Eventually, because of status change there was behavioral change towards one another, feelings of rebellion started to arise, politeness started wearing away. Everyone was so into their character that they started behaving as real prisoners and real prison guards. The movie actually thrilled me. I couldn’t even imagine how brutal the guards were towards the inmates.  The guards turned into merciless creatures. The way they behaved with the inmates was so nerve wrecking that I couldn’t even watch it. They started bullying the prisoners and beating them up. There was a prisoner who was a diabetic, but the guards were so harsh that they didn’t allow him to have his medicine.  Among the prisoners, Travis who was a proud anti-war protester was tortured physically as well as mentally by a guard named Michael Barris ,a 42-year-old man who still lived with his domineering mother. Barris was ruled by his mother throughout  his life but when he was selected as a prison guard in the experiment, he gained confidence he never had. He started acting superior and started dominating the inmates so harshly that I personally felt like punching him on the face. I even wanted to kill him. The Experiment How can a person pee on top of another person? How can a person dip another’s head into the toilet cummod? How can someone beat up a man who is a diabetic so hard that he dies? How can a guy forcefully rape another guy? These kind of questions arose in my mind throughout the movie. A man can be so ruthless for some amount of money that he loses his humanity. This movie was more of a shock to me. This movie clearly gave the answer to Menosh’s question and the answer is “Yes”.