Whenever we talk about the BBC Prison study people bombard us with questions about what we did (or didn’t do) and what we found (or didn’t find). In this section we provide our responses to some of the questions we are asked most frequently. These fall into three broad categories.
The first set of questions concern matters of reality and artifice. Was the prison real? What was the effect of TV? What was the impact of our interventions?
The second set of questions relate to various decisions and outcomes associated with designing and running the study. Why did we include only men? Why did we end the study when we did? Did we follow up the participants?
The third set of questions are ones of science and society. Was the research scientific? Does it tell us anything about the world at large? Here we also answer two questions that almost everyone asks us: Why were our findings so different from those of Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment? And how has Zimbardo reacted to our work?
If there is a question that you would like us to answer that we do not address here or elsewhere in the website, please contact us. Over time, if enough people ask the same question we will add a new page to this section.