The following articles contain interesting discussion of aspects of the BBC Prison Study (BPS).
- Reynolds, K. J., Turner, J. C., Branscombe, N. R., Mavor, K. I., Bizumic, B., & Subasic, E. (2010). Interactionism in personality and social psychology: An integrated approach to understanding the mind and behaviour. European Journal of Personality, 24, 458-482.
In this paper Kate Reynolds and her colleagues use data from the BPS to support a new approach to the study of personality. This argues that psychologists need to embrace dynamic models in which people's individuality (their personal identity) is a product of group life (and associated social identities), and that personality theory can be enriched by understanding how these two levels of identity shape each other.
- Livingstone, A. G., Spears, R, Manstead, A. S. R, & Bruder, M. (2009). Illegitimacy and identity threat in (inter)action: Predicting intergroup orientations among minority group members. British Journal of Social Psychology, 48, 755-775.
This paper by Andrew Livingstone and colleagues at Cardiff University provides an elegant analysis of the way in which identity threat and a sense of illegitimacy interact to determine minority group member's behaviour towards others.
- Markus, G. (2008). Blinded by the light: Aspiration and inspiration in political psychology. Political Psychology, 29, 313-330.
Based on Markus's Presidential address to the International Society for Political Psychology, this wide-ranging paper argues that studies like the BPS are important because they have the capacity to challenge narratvies which are based on a narrow (and often partial) sampling of human experience. In his words:
In the main, social psychology has focused on pathological facets of the human condition—as in Janis’s focus on group think (Janis, 1982) and all the studies beginning with Fromm (1965) that aim to show the pathological incapacity of leaders and followers to sustain democratic authority and individual autonomy. ... Yet, there are those who have challenged those narratives. I can highly recommend [research by] Steve Reicher and his colleague Alex Haslam who challenge Zimbardo’s artful but more-imagined-than-real portrait of a public eager to engage in tyrannical oppression. (p.324)
- Banyard, P. (2007). Tyranny and the tyrant. The Psychologist, 20, 494-495.
In this article Philip Banyard offers a probing review of Zimbardo's (2006) book, The Lucifer Effect. In particular, he argues that Guard aggression in the SPE was explicity encouraged by Zimbardo, rather than something that emerged as a result of participants' conformity to societal scripts. As he observes:
One of the strong messages that comes out of this text is that it is not the roles that created the abusive behaviour in the guards but the manipulation of the Machiavellian superintendent. ... It is not, as Zimbardo suggests, the guards who wrote their own scripts on the blank canvass of the SPE, but Zimbardo who creates the script of terror. (p.494)