Nothing's happening." The guards had this antiauthority mentality. They didn't get into the guard mentality until the prisoners started to revolt.
Throughout the experiment, there was this conspiracy of denial—everyone involved was in effect denying that this was an experiment and agreeing that this is a prison run by psychologists. We had to feed the prisoners three meals a day, deal with the prisoner breakdowns, deal with their parents, run a parole board. I had become the superintendent of the Stanford county jail. Even my posture changes—when I walk through the prison yard, I'm walking with my hands behind my back, which I never in my life do, the way generals walk when they're inspecting troops.
"No behavioral research that puts people in that kind of setting can ever be done again in America," Zimbardo says.
The prisoners come out, and the guards put bags over their heads, chain their feet together and make them put their hands on each other's shoulders, like a chain gang. She said, "It's terrible what you're doing to these boys. This is when I realized I had been transformed by the prison study to become the prison administrator. We've got to end the study." [As the study was underway], there was an escape attempt at San Quentin prison and [former Black Panther] George Jackson was shot and killed.
More than 70 people volunteered to take part in the study, to be conducted in a fake prison housed inside Jordan Hall, on Stanford's Main Quad.
The leader of the study was 38-year-old psychology professor Philip Zimbardo.
But it still wasn't evident to me what that might mean. I didn't see any change in him until I actually went down to the basement and saw the prison.
I met one guard who seemed nice and sweet and charming, and then I saw him in the yard later and I thought, "Oh my God, what happened here?