Analysis of participants’ authoritarianism indicated that this increased significantly (for both Guards and Prisoners) as the study progressed.
As a variant on this analysis, we examined authoritarianism as a function of the groups to which the participants assigned themselves at the end of the study (i.e., as ‘New Guards’ who proposed setting up a new regime or the remaining Communards).
This analysis revealed a significant statistical interaction between group and phase. This reflects the fact that the authoritarianism of the New Guards had not changed over time, but that of the Communards had increased significantly. So while at the start of the study those who subsequently became New Guards were significantly more authoritarian than the Communards, this was not the case at the study’s end.
- Source: Reicher, S. D., & Haslam, S. A. (2006). Rethinking the psychology of tyranny: The BBC Prison Study. British Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 1-40.