Cameron University to examine “The Stanford Prison Experience” with film screenings, panel discussion

What happens when you put good people in an evil place? Does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph? These questions will be examined during “The Stanford Prison Experience,” a two-day event examining the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment. On Monday, November 2, the documentary “Quiet Rage” will be screened at 6:30 p.m. in the CETES Conference Center and will be followed by a panel discussion.  On Tuesday, November 3, the feature film “The Stanford Prison Experiment” will be presented at 7 p.m. in Ross Hall 111. Both events are open to the public at no charge.

The Stanford Prison Experiment, conducted at Stanford University in August 1971, was a study of the psychology effects of becoming a prisoner or a prison guard. Funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, this dramatic simulation of prison life is a classic study on the psychology of imprisonment. According to psychology professor Phillip G. Zimbardo, who led the study, the planned two-week investigation had to be ended after only six days because of what the situation was doing to the college students who participated. “In only a few days, our guards became sadistic and our prisoners became depressed and showed signs of extreme stress,” Zimbardo says. More information about the experiment can be found at www.prisonexp.org.

Produced in 1992, “Quiet Rage” is a 50-minute documentary about the experiment. Guaranteed to stimulate critical thinking and discussion, the film features archival footage, flashbacks, post-experiment interviews with the prisoners and guards, and comparisons with real prisons. It documents the surprise arrests by city police and vividly shows the pathology that developed among participants. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Anita Alford, District Volunteer Coordinator, Oklahoma Department of Corrections; Dr. Jared Linebach, Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice & Sociology, Cameron University; Dr. Adam Randell, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Cameron University, and Dr. Tony Wohlers, Director of Academic Enrichment, Cameron University.

“The Stanford Prison Experiment” is a 2015 feature film based on the event. The tense, psychological thriller has been called a “rich, thought-provoking film” and is a chilling look at the dark side of power and the effects of imprisonment. The two-hour film won two awards – the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award -  at the 31st Sundance Film Festival. The feature also received a Special Mention for Best International Feature Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

For more information, contact Cameron’s Office of Campus Life at 580-581-2217.

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October 23, 2015

PR#15-172