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The Stanford Prison Experiment was flawed (bps-research-digest.blogspot.com)
121 points by ColinWright on July 23, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 65 comments



Articles about issues like this have been submitted several times to Hacker News, and I'm glad to see that this article is getting some discussion. Right after I saw the submission here, I looked up articles on the replication problem in psychology, and I came back to the PsychFileDrawer.org top 20 list of studies that are nominated as needing more replication.[1] I'd like to see more replication of several of those studies myself.

Another recent commentary that I don't recall seeing submitted to Hacker News is "Psychology's real replication problem: our Methods sections,"[2] which suggests (quite plausibly to me) that many publications in psychology journals describe the methods of the study so inadequately that it is hard to know whether or not the study can be replicated.

A scholar of how scientific research is conducted and of statistical errors that show up in many peer-reviewed scientific publications, Uri Simonsohn, has a whole website about "p-hacking" and how to detect it.[3] Simonsohn is a professor of psychology with a better than average understanding of statistics. He and his colleagues are concerned about making scientific papers more reliable. You can use the p-curve software on that site for your own investigations into p values found in published research. Many of the interesting issues brought up by comments on the article kindly submitted here become much more clear after reading Simonsohn's various articles[4] about p values and what they mean, and other aspects of interpreting published scientific research. And I think Hacker News readers who have thought deeply about statistics will be delighted by the sense of humor while making pointed remarks about experimental methods that you can find in the papers of Simonsohn and his colleagues.

Simonsohn provides an abstract (which links to a full, free download of a funny, thought-provoking paper)[5] with a "twenty-one word solution" to some of the practices most likely to make psychology research papers unreliable. He also has a paper posted on evaluating replication results[6] with more specific tips on that issue.

"Abstract: "When does a replication attempt fail? The most common standard is: when it obtains p > .05. I begin here by evaluating this standard in the context of three published replication attempts, involving investigations of the embodiment of morality, the endowment effect, and weather effects on life satisfaction, concluding the standard has unacceptable problems. I then describe similarly unacceptable problems associated with standards that rely on effect-size comparisons between original and replication results. Finally, I propose a new standard: Replication attempts fail when their results indicate that the effect, if it exists at all, is too small to have been detected by the original study. This new standard (1) circumvents the problems associated with existing standards, (2) arrives at intuitively compelling interpretations of existing replication results, and (3) suggests a simple sample size requirement for replication attempts: 2.5 times the original sample."

I should add that slamming the entire discipline of psychology as a discipline with sloppy methodology goes a bit too far. I have learned about most of the publications that take psychology most to task from working psychology researchers. There are whole departments of psychology[7] that largely have a scientific orientation and are trying to improve the discipline's methodology. Crap psychology abounds, but it is gradually being displaced by science-based psychology based on sound methodologies. It is of course more methodologically difficult to study the behavior of our fellow human beings than to study clouds or volcanoes or insects, but many scientifically oriented psychologists are working on the problem with good methods and sound statistical analysis. Some thoughtful psychologists have been prompted to stress careful replication by the failed studies that have come before.[8]

[1] http://www.psychfiledrawer.org/top-20/

[2] http://psychsciencenotes.blogspot.com/2014/05/psychologys-re...

[3] http://www.p-curve.com/

[4] http://opim.wharton.upenn.edu/~uws/

[5] http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2160588

[6] http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2259879

[7] http://www.psych.umn.edu/research/areas/pib/

[8] http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/o...


I'm sorry that I don't have the required knowledge to add to what you've said here, but I have a digressive question: what fields have you worked in and what is your current occupation?

I ask because the topical breadth of your comments is absolutely astounding to me.

Please don't take this in too saccharine or fawning of a manner, but I could only hope to be as generally knowledgeable and contributory as you appear to be were I to buckle down and work my inquisitive ass off for the next 5 decades.

Anyways, I always look forward to your comments. Thanks for them, regardless of how you manage to dish them out.

If you have a blog, I'd be a happy subscriber.

Edit: I read your extensive profile, which answers my questions as to your experience. No need to reply if there's nothing of interest to add :-)


I would like to suggest that the general sentiment here is true in some other modern scientific disciplines. In other words, I don't think it's because psychology is transitioning to a more formal scientific approach that causes these difficulties. I think it has to do with a misalignment of incentives in the present academic world, and the difficulty of the statistical inference framework.

These problems of reproducibility occur in basic cancer research articles as well. Amgen proved this and wrote a paper detailing issues [1].

Academics are valued for their papers, citations and grants. And papers are difficult to publish if one fails to find an effect. The researcher has some incentive to find the right numbers because their job is, in a way, on the line.

There's lots of writing about the tension between "publish or perish" [2] and scientific integrity. It manifests in p-values often, but p-values are the dominant statistical tool right now in most fields. I think you will see the same tension regardless of your tools for doing science.

[1] Drug development: Raise standards for preclinical cancer research, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v483/n7391/full/483531a... [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Publish_or_perish


> "It is of course more methodologically difficult to study the behavior of our fellow human beings than to study clouds or volcanoes or insects,"

I have always despised this semi-excuse. It should not excuse, or even explain anything at all. It is a great deal harder to study the interior of Europa than it is to study how humans behave, but nobody would say that "crap astronomy abounds". At least not without some serious backing evidence; and they certainly wouldn't simply concede it to the hypothetical masses who already suspect it.

"It is hard to find the funds to perform this experiment, so excuse us for making shit up!" is something that would never fly, but "It is hard to find ways to perform this experiment ethically, so excuse us for making shit up!" is heard all the fucking time.


the replication problem is more general than Psychology, it's a problem across biology. Perhaps more acute in psychology where the statistical methods lag a bit, but there are serious problems with the volume of science produced and the statistics used to analyse the aggregate. I feel like we might have a foundational crisis emerging.

http://neuroblog.stanford.edu/?p=3451


The neuroscience review cited in this blog post is originally from nature reviews [0]. While I agree with the general notion that neuroscientists need to get better at using statistical methods and tools, I wonder if the author of the blog you linked (Zalocusky) maybe makes the problem out to be somewhat different than as it is described in the original review.

Specifically Zalocusky is trying to link the neuroscience results to an earlier article by Ioannidis [1]. Whereas article [0] makes the conclusion that neuroscience results are unreliable and hard to reproduce, Zalocusky is applying the older methods and results from [1] that this means neuroscience results are not only unreliable but also false, which is a stronger statement. To support this, Zalocusky adds in a couple of back-of-the-napkin calculations.

I think a bit more analysis and caution is necessary before making the leap from Ioannidis' 2013 claim about neuroscience research to Zalocusky's stronger claim about neuroscience research.

Incidentally there was a lot of discussion about Ioannidis' 2005 paper, some which can be seen by Ioannidis' 2007 response to earlier criticism of the paper [2]. When evaluating claims about entire fields of research, it is important to be careful about how we interpret these claims.

edit: We need to be especially careful when using the word false. Does that mean "not true"? Or "insufficient to describe the truth"? Or "directly opposite to the truth"?

[0] http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v14/n5/full/nrn3475.html

[1] http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal...

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1896210/


Yeah I agree caution in interpretation is important.

However, given enough scientists all three forms of false are being published in parallel (as well as genuinely true results), which is the key problem. Without bounds on publication bias and publication quantity you can't really rigorously associate a probability of truth from a p-value* in isolation.

(hmm, I suppose meta-studies are a kind of remedy to that so maybe it will all work out anyway)

* or whatever


I think this is related. Something I have just become aware of in the last year is, researchers in the psychology fields having a backlash against "replication bullies" (a quick Google search will show what I'm talking about.) They claim that they are being battered with unreasonable requests for replication of work. This is so far outside of my knowledge, I wonder if you have an opinion on that.


Robert Kurzban gave a short talk on this topic at HeadCon '13.

http://edge.org/panel/headcon-13-part-iv


Well, define 'flawed'. It is flawed if you attempt to interpret it as being representative of how people in the general population would behave in a setting without an active experimenter interfering, sure.

It does still reveal the influence that one person can have on a group of people and how much can be changed about behavior. It would be unwise to throw away discussions of the experiment because people can't properly place the data in context or evaluate the strengths/weaknesses of the experimental design and implementation (which is what Psychology courses should be teaching you to do in the first place.)


The linked article criticizes text books for not covering experiments criticism. The full title is: "What the textbooks don't tell you - one of psychology's most famous experiments was seriously flawed".

The title on HN have been shortened and information got lost in the process.


The title was too long, and it wasn't clear what should or should not be included. I did my best.

<shrug />


Note that this is exactly what is wrong with how the experiment is discussed in text books and pop culture!


It's not scientific though. It's an anecdotal story. Which can be useful but shouldn't be taken anymore seriously than any other documented story about abuses of authority.

But there's no good control to make scientific conclusions on why the abuses occurred.


Can someone explain why is SPE not relevant to Abu Ghraib? While you can argue the experiment was flawed, I am not sure its results are.

I am asking myself, if all the outrage about the SPE (and also Milgram) experiments being unethical (or flawed) isn't really about something that we don't want to really know about human nature.


You shouldn't put the SPE and Milgram experiments in the same basket. His experiments involved hundreds of participants from different demographics (mostly males though) and the conclusions he drew were backed up by his data. The setup he used is today deemed by most as unethical, but similar studies have reached the same conclusions.

A little known fact is that Milgram found, when the studied persons were free to set the voltage to administer, none of them increased it. His conclusion were that most people are not sadists and do not enjoy hurting others.

Edit: Maybe I spoke to soon, see: http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/electric... But the experiments where still very different in the number of test subjects and how scientifically they where conducted.


I have the book Obedience from Milgram at home, although I just skimmed through it. I think the situation is similar, Zimbardo would probably do more experiments as well weren't the first result so horrific.

What I am a bit worried of is that we are not able to replicate (because of the ethical problems), in one way or another, results of these studies. How can future generations become educated about these problems? Especially if we cast doubt over their results. Are our descendants doomed to figure out these things the hard way?


SPE is tainted and so we should be very careful when drawing conclusions from it. This is true even if, although tainted, its conclusions are correct.

Things like Abu Ghraib are really severe. They don't just apply to "terrorists"[1] in military detention. See 'WinterBourne View'. This was a hospital[3] for long term care for people with learning disability. Residents were the victims of horrible treatment from people who were supposed to care for them. See also the poor care provided by some staff at West Staffs hospital.

Since our aim is to stop and reduce incidents of abuse we need good quality research to make sure that we're not making things worse.

[1] Using troubling but easy shorthand. Sorry.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winterbourne_View_hospital_abu...

[3] Cultural note: It was a private hospital, but most of the people there would have had their care paid for by the state. This happens quite a lot in mental health treatment - most eating disorder in-patient beds will be private; most medium and high secure "forensic" beds will be private.


Agreed, especially with this part:

> Zimbardo played a key role in encouraging his "guards" to behave in tyrannical fashion.

How do we know that the Abu Ghraib guards weren't told to be tyrannical by the CIA or other management figures? Noone was really blaming the guards themselves for causing it to happen.


We know they were. MPE doesn't confirm the belief that cruelty spontaneously forms in previously uncruel people when they are put in charge of others - but does it claim to? If that were true, every parent would be an abuser.

What it does support is that if you put people in charge of other people, and only punish the people in charge for lapses in order, and not for cruelty, then a large percentage of them will become cruel to prevent lapses in order.


In this context flawed and unethical mean different things. Flawed means that we cannot trust the results to be accurate and unethical means that we should not try the experiment again to test the accuracy of those results.


I vaguely recall seeing a similar thing about Milgram's Obedience experiments. The experimenters allegedly broke protocol by prompting the subjects too many times or bullying them, rather than using the prescribed neutral prompts.

However, I can't remember where I heard this.


>The experimenters allegedly broke protocol by prompting the subjects too many times or bullying them

and thus showed that "prompting the subjects too many times or bullying them" still makes people to follow the prompts and deliver the shock where "prescribed neutral prompts" weren't enough.


In my life, I have found at least 95% of the people I have interacted will commit immoral acts/lie/cheat/ etc; as long as it's legal? They won't Jaywalk, but will commit horrid/spineless acts in order to make a buck, or secure their financial future. It would be hard to reproduce this study because so many people know about it, but I doubt the outcome would be much different. Man is spineless. I guess if you do show conviction and stand up for what is right; you run the risk of Homelessness? To bad! Oh, and just doing the right thing when people are looking, or convenient doesn't count.


First of all, have you read the article? When you say "I doubt the outcome would be much different" are you basing that on the same prejudices that Zimbardo had when he ran the experiment the first time?

Also, watch out for sloppy thinking: If people will commit immoral acts as long as it's legal, that makes them heartless, not spineless. Make sure you know what your standard is, because it will be used to judge you.


The most surprising thing is that the textbooks haven't been updated. When I was a psych prof this was a commonplace among all my colleagues and even students. It's even common to use this "experiment" as a case study in class to discuss problematic experimental design.

I'm not sure why textbooks haven't been updated, but I doubt the hypotheses mentioned in the article (ignorance, that the authors believe the study, and pressure to keep textbooks short).


This blog article doesn't tell me that MPE was flawed, either. All of those words criticizing other sources, but nothing summarizing the factual basis for those criticisms other than links to papers that .001% of the people reading this blog entry will complete.

My guess at why textbooks ignore the criticism is because it is not convincing.


SPE is an absolute mess as an experiment, and shouldn't really be regarded as science.

However, you really don't even have to go far so far into the technical details to find it to be flawed. The whole premise seems absurd to me.

You get some students, tell some of them to act like prison guards and the rest to act like prisoners, and then it's supposed to be surprising that they follow through on this?

"Well, we didn't expect them to be so sadistic!"

There's nothing I read that was more sadistic than a fairly typical hazing ritual. All participants knew this was ultimately voluntary and could quit at any time.


It might be convenient if the Stanford Prison Experiment continued to be discredited, often and harshly. Who would want to be in charge if all the peons were constantly mumbling about how being in charge turned leaders into petty tyrants?

It'd just be awkward and uncomfortable.


Not flawed per se, if we see Zimbardo like Milgram as the guy in the white coat. If anything it's a case study in what "encouragement" means in the social context, like Abu Gharib or the Holocaust. No study is perfect, it can't be. By trying to control for variables, new ones are introduced and objectivity is lost and gained. No surprise there.


Zach Weinersmith of SMBC put this very well in one frame and a caption: http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3025


This issue is true with much of social science. It would be great to see more replication (or non-replication) experiments to confirm what we think we do or don't know.


The linked comic is true - there are many problems with social science studies.

But, since you specifically mention replication and non-replication -- how well is this covered in the rest of science? How well is the null-hypothesis covered?

(I should say that I'm not trying to suggest that physics is as sloppy as psychology sometimes appears to be.)

(EDIT: spelling)


It's a problem everywhere. I think Physics is somewhat spared because the gap between observation and math is less. (String theory perhaps being an exception) I think biochemistry runs into these issues more because it is harder to "prove" things with math. In general the less you can rely on supporting math or theory, the more you need to be careful about replicating experiments to come up with the truth.


I think this is misunderstanding the role of math in science. Math is not used to "prove" scientific results, per se. Math is used to construct models, and prove that certain results would be expected from a given model. That doesn't mean the models work in the real world; all sciences use experiments to test models to see if they describe actual observations.

In this sense, you always need to be careful about replication, regardless of field. If you can't show replication, then there is no guarantee that the model will always match observations, no matter how much math went into the construction of that model.

In Physics the main problem is isolating variables, and setting up appropriate conditions. The good thing about Physics is that once the environment is set up and the experiment is well designed, it is easy to re-run the experiment for more trials. With chemistry and biology, this is usually the case as long as you have clean reagents in a clean lab, but you are introducing more factors of what you have to control as the complexity of your system scales up.

It is hardest to replicate results involving humans, because with humans you have a lot of complexity, so you know you can never control all influencing factors. Usually in the social sciences, it is easier to hope these factors cancel out with a large, non-homogenous sample size. The problem as these experiments like SPE demonstrate is that it is hard to build an ideal sample and, if the ethics or practicality of your methods are questioned, rerun the experiment to replicate results.


The counterargument to this is that people aren't basing their view on that 6 day long experiment, it just confirms what they've noticed their entire lives.

Also, what the hell is up with a name like "Weinersmith"? Is that a nom de plume or something?


The half-life of knowledge in psychology is thought to be one year, so by now most of the famous experiments (and their findings) in the field are considered flawed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-life_of_knowledge


The very link from Wikipedia you used says that half-life of knowledge in psychology is five years. Still, that's not very long either.


Mistype. The point is don't take academic psychology seriously.


Sadly this extends past psychology to other scientific disciplines. There are many foods for example that have been shown to both dramatically increase and decrease you risk of cancer in well respected scientific journals. There is a strong incentive to find extreme results and too few peers actually reproduce results.


Who cares? Isn't this an experiment validating a known conclusion anyway? Evil exists in the hearts of many. Give these bad people unlimited power and they will take out their frustrations on their fellow man. We see this all around us, if one is paying attention. The disgruntled Russian doorman, the lady who runs the local Home Owner's Association and likes to boss people around to sooth her psuedo-ego, the cop who shoots the non-aggressive dog or chokes out a cuffed arrestee because he can. And let's not forget the biggest experiment of all -- Nazi Germany where millions died. Now there is an experiment that went on way too long and should have been aborted. I just hope we learn the right lessons.

NB: I am not saying everyone is evil.


I think the reason why the experiment, if true, is so fascinating is because it's about normal people put into an abnormal situation rather than inherently bad people being given power.

What I take away from the experiment is that given the right situation and pressures, most people would do things they thought they would never otherwise do. More importantly, I think it's probably a mistake to think that you're the exception and are morally incorruptible.


This is exactly the conclusion they want you to reach. Who are you to judge? Who are you to condemn anyone since you are evil too? This is the charter of liberty for evil and all evil needs to survive, even prosper. This "experiment" is the biblical tenet of Original Sin masquerading as science and I reject it. If your moral principles cannot be practiced consistently by all men then something is wrong with your principles, not human nature.


The conclusion would essentially say that some social structures are more explanatory of behavior than individual psychology. Given how much importance people place on personal idiosyncrasy or psychology, I'd say this is pretty cool if better confirmed.


Why qualify it with "some" social structures? You could come right out and say it like Karl Marx that social structures explain behavior -- but then you'd have the same problem he did which is that it reverses cause and effect.


Are there any similar critiques of the Milgram experiment?

edit: Also, what the hell happened to HN comments sections lately?


Well, there are interesting follow-ups at least: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jopy.12104/abstra... (summarised at http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-green-mind/201406/ar... )

Some nice quotes from the discussion (citations removed here for readability):

As expected, Conscientiousness and Agreeableness predicted the intensity of electric shocks administered to the victim. Second, we showed that disobedience was influenced by political orientation, with left-wing political ideology being associated with decreased obedience. Third, we showed that women who were willing to participate in rebellious political activities such as going on strike or occupying a factory administered lower shocks.

All these results suggest that situational context, even though a powerful determinate of behavior, does not necessarily overwhelm individual-level behavioral determinants. It is interesting to note that personality traits such as Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, which are widely related to positive outcomes such as better mental health, longevity, academic performance, parenting, reduced aggression, and prosocial behavior, may also have darker sides in that they can lead to destructive and immoral obedience.


anecdotally, the people I know who pursue psychology vocationally are not the most rigorous thinkers. more than half have a serious belief in astrology, for instance.

which is to say, I don't know what people expect, but I'm never surprised when I find out that any given psychology experiment is a fanciful construct of lies and half-truths.


This comment is a hilarious parody. It criticises others for lack of rigorous thinking while simultaneously declaring itself to be anecdotal and based on the poster's observations.


> anecdotally

Yeah, I'd say.

Sometimes anecdotes are useful, revealing something interesting about a person's experience in the world. Here, you've done something very unfair: extrapolate from very a very small perspective into a very large idea of what the world is like.

Psychology is a rich field with diverse practitioners. Rational, data driven, empirical methods underpin psych research as anywhere in the sciences.

And where this isn't true, where Freudians and Jungians, etc., hold sway, there's something interesting going on there, too. Mushy and soft and philosophical and silly as it might be.

Don't discount the value of centuries of inquiry and practice because you know a half dozen idiot psychologists that believe in astrology. This is not a representative or useful sample.


well, you scooted right on by my point, which is in the second paragraph. are you a Capricorn?


I saw "Ghostbusters" as well, but the joke's on you. All that crazy stuff they believed turned out to be true (in the movie).


Psychology is a modern religion masquerading as a science. Its as much a means of social control as anything else, and is promoted by governments because it gives them a way of subverting the general will of the people, that they not have religions dogma enforced upon them by the state. Psychology is little more than cultural dogma categorized in a way that it allows application for political purposes, and anyone who disagrees with that Psychology is a true science, is of course .. "crazy" ..

Just count the number of times you hear someone say "that guy is certifiably insane, he should be committed to an asylum" any time someone comes up with a non-popular point of view .. this is the government religion at work.


> Just count the number of times you hear someone say "that guy is certifiably insane, he should be committed to an asylum" any time someone comes up with a non-popular point of view .. this is the government religion at work.

England has government spending on psychology - mostly in the form of health spending on psychological talking therapies.

In England you can't easily[1] be detained under the Mental Health Act for having a "non popular point of view". There are a number of checks and balances built into the system. While the system isn't perfect it is very unlikely that a person would be detained just for an unpopular opinion. So "The Government" is not out to get you.

Of course, your comment talks about the general population. Yep, you're right, many people in the general population display shocking ignorance about mental health problems and they are happy to blame mental illness when a person displays challenging behaviours or opinions. That's not the fault of government propaganda, that's the fault of ignorance about mental health problems.

(EDIT: spelling)


The point is this: over the last 5 decades, since Psychology became accepted by society, as a movement it has established itself as the High Priests of society - by ingratiating itself as a subject in Law, in Civic affairs, and so on. Western governments have been more than willing to let themselves have this '3rd arm' of enforcement to apply to their protection; time and again, we hear "government-appointed psychologist says [blah]" about some figure, and whenever the psychological health of any individual is discussed, if an 'expert' (high priest) comes along with their statement that the individual has any one of the invented malladies in their bible (DSM-IV), then thats the end of that guy. Take him away!

My point is this: general society hasn't noticed this infiltration of their governments, and are - at this point - perfectly okay with it. So it doesn't really matter if its a science or not - Psychology has been accepted as the official state religion, for determining just how compliant any individual is with the group-think de jour, and that's all that really matters ...


> time and again, we hear "government-appointed psychologist says [blah]" about some figure

Please could you point to a single "government appointed psychologist" saying [blah] about some figure? Because while I'm sure they're common in oppressive regimes I haven't heard of one recently in non-oppressive regimes.

> if an 'expert' (high priest) comes along with their statement that the individual has any one of the invented malladies in their bible (DSM-IV), then thats the end of that guy. Take him away!

There are abuses of the various rules for detaining and treating someone against their will. I mentioned that in my first reply. But it's not as easy as you suggest and hasn't been for some years now.

If you're saying that psychology had severe abuse in the system early on then we both agree.


The only recent examples I can think of of "government-appointed psychologists says [blah]" that would even get close would be in high profile court cases, where it's really court-appointed psychologists.

I agree with you - it's rare to see this abused these days. Though I remember a particular nasty case from my childhood - a man in Oslo was committed with a diagnosis of paranoid delusions in 1971 after having been involved in a political struggle related to a school closure. His claims about violations of various laws in the process intended to close down the school were used as evidence of his supposed delusions. He was not released from the hospital until 1985. At which point he refused to leave the hospital, and camped outside it until near his death in 1996, while campaigning to have his diagnosis reversed.

The utterly bizarre situation was that he insisted that if the diagnosis stood, then he should be admitted, but the hospital refused - claiming he was too well to be admitted even voluntarily, while still insisting he still suffered from paranoid delusions.

In 1988 an investigation indicated that he was likely sane when admitted, though he may at some point later have suffered from mental problems caused or exacerbated by his forced hospitalisation.

In 1995 the relevant government department gave him a formal apology, admitting that the claims he first made in 1968, that was used as evidence of delusions in order to have him forcibly admitted, were in fact true... Nobody were willing to admit that the hospitalisation was politically motivated, but given the fact it's hard to conclude otherwise.

It shows how insidious claims like these could be: Everything he did to fight his hospitalisation and diagnosis was used as additional evidence of his supposed insanity.

I like to think that cases like this doesn't occur anymore..


There was a recent scandal in Germany:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustl_Mollath

I recall that in a TV discussion of the scandal a psychiatry professor was extremely critical of psychiatric profiles. I think she even said that she would not allow anyone to create one of herself.


Thanks for that reference. A very interesting example of what I'm discussing (and being downvoted for) .. the state and general public believe that psychiatric 'experts' are the new high priests, regulating human behaviour and casting out anyone that doesn't fit their pre-determined patterns.

Just look what they did to Forrestal in the early years of the takeover of the United States by the military-industrial complex:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Forrestal#Psychiatric_tre...


I'm saying that psychology and psychiatry, two state-controlled religions, are regularly abused by those who wish to use it to hold power over others.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipula...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiKMmrG1ZKU

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_psychology

(See also - http://psychiatricnews.wordpress.com/)

>If you're saying that psychology had severe abuse in the system early on then we both agree.

Nope. Still the same as it ever was.


Read some neuroscience textbooks, for example, and then come back to me about how it's a "religion".

This has to be one of the worst comments I've seen in ages. My god.


Such as what do you recommend I read?

Neuroscience is just an attempt by the psychiatric movement to evade its religious/government roots. Neuroscience will also, eventually, be recognized as a belief system of enforcement, merely a tool for those who wish to social engineer the next generation of society for .. whatever .. means.


Well, the "dead fish"fMRI experiment showed how fMRI data is strikingly similar to reading tea leaves .


Title of the article is seriously flawed. Every textbook and every respectable course spends more time criticising Stanford Prison Experiment more than discussing its results.


The text of the article contains evidence which supports the title's assertion and contradicts your assertion that "every textbook" criticizes the experiment. Do you have evidence to support your assertion?

> So, have the important criticisms and reinterpretations of the SPE been documented by key introductory psychology textbooks? Greggs analysed the content of 13 leading US introductory psychology textbooks, all of which have been revised in recent years, including: Discovering Psychology (Cacioppo and Freberg, 2012); Psychological Science (Gazzaniga et al, 2012); and Psychology (Schacter et al, 2011).

> Of the 13 analysed texts, 11 dealt with the Stanford Prison Experiment, providing between one to seven paragraphs of coverage. Nine included photographic support for the coverage. Five provided no criticism of the SPE at all. The other six provided only cursory criticism, mostly focused on the questionable ethics of the study. Only two texts mentioned the BBC Prison Study. Only one text provided a formal scholarly reference to a critique of the SPE.




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