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Social Influence – Conformity

6. The Stanford Prison Experiment

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About this Lecture


In this module, we take a closer look at a classic study on conformity: Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment from 1971. We discuss Zimbardo’s experimental design, the methodological and ethical issues it raises and the findings he arrived at through his study. Finally, we think about some of the reasons why Zimbardo’s experiment still remains one of the most influential studies in the history of psychology.


In this course, Mr Kevin Silber (University of Derby) discusses conformity, a type of social influence which describes changes in a person’s behaviour, thoughts and feelings in response to a group norm. We begin with a definition of the term ‘conformity’ in module one, before moving on to thinking about some early studies on conformity in module two. The third module looks at the factors that affect conformity, including group size, unanimity and task difficulty, while module four discusses different types of conformity, including compliance, identification and internalisation. In module five, we investigate the question why people conform, before concluding the course with a closer look at a classic study of conformity in module six: Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment.


Mr Kevin Silber is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Derby where he mainly teaches on biological psychology modules. He is also an A level examiner for AQA and is involved in authoring texts for A level psychology. His research interests are somewhat eclectic. Having started life as a neuroscientist, he still has an interest in biologically oriented research. However, his main research interest is now focused on body image.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Silber, K. (2019, September 27). Social Influence – Conformity - The Stanford Prison Experiment [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Silber, Kevin. "Social Influence – Conformity – The Stanford Prison Experiment." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Sep 2019,

Image Credits

"Philip Zimbardo" by Elekes Andor, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
"Stanford Prison Experiment" by Teodorvasic97, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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