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Social Influence – Conformity

6. The Stanford Prison Experiment

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we take a closer look at Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment from 1971, focusing in particular on: (i) Zimbardo’s experimental design; (ii) the methodological and ethical issues it raises; (iii) the findings he arrived at through his study; (iv) 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. In the first lecture, we begin with a definition of the term ‘conformity’. In the second lecture, we think about some early studies on conformity. In the third lecture, we look at the factors that affect conformity, including group size, unanimity and task difficulty. Next, we discuss different types of conformity, including compliance, identification and internalisation. In the fifth lecture, we investigate the question why people conform. In the sixth and final lecture, we conclude the course with a closer look at a classic study of conformity: Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment.


Mr Kevin Silber is a senior lecturer at the University of Derby where he primarily teaches biological psychology modules. Mr Silber is also an AQA A-Level examiner and is involved in authoring texts for A-Level psychology. Having started life as a neuroscientist, Mr Silber’s research interests still lie in biologically oriented topics. However, his main research interest is now focused on body image. Some of Mr Silber’s recent publications include ‘Working memory in children: A developmental approach to the phonological coding of pictorial material’ (2011) and ‘Sexual orientation and the sleep-wake cycle: A preliminary investigation’ (2000).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

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

MLA style

Silber, K. "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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