Many experiments have been carried out in psychology from the past to the present. In 1971, Philips Zimbardo, a social psychologist, conducted a prison experiment in the basement of Stanford University to study how social roles affect individuals and the effect of power on obedience. The film The Experiment is also the film adaptation of this experiment. In this film, which has been adapted quite successfully, we realize how much individuals change in the presence or absence of power and when it comes to our social roles, we can see in an extremely impressive way how far we have moved away from our personality. In this context, we will conduct a psychological review of The Experiment film in our article. And let's remind you before we forget: Attention! Contains spoiler.

Dec 17, 2023 - 23:37
Dec 18, 2023 - 14:02
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 Genre: Thriller, Drama Duration: 1 hour 36 minutes
 Director: Paul Scheuring
 Screenwriter: Paul Scheuring
Performers: Adrien Brody, Forest Whitaker, Cam Gigandet

In the film in which Zimbardo's ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’ was adapted for the cinema, the participants who voluntarily participated in the experiment for money were divided into prisoners and guards. In selecting participants, individuals were asked questions about absolute right-wrong by trying to predict who and how they could be when it comes to moral and social conditions, and the results determined whether individuals would be prisoners or guards. So that prisoners play their roles, they were taken from their homes and brought to prison as if they were real criminals. In order to ensure the reality and natural conditions in the experiment, the environment is just like a prison, and the participants' clothes are suitable for the prison environment. All of this has increased the 
experimental reality, and therefore the speed at which participants can get involved in their roles and social impact. Also, the guards were also given rules; they were told that they could give prisoners proportionate punishment without resorting to violence and that they should call the prisoners by their numbers. We see that they are trying to ignore their personality and identity by fitting prisoners only with a number. On the first day of the experiment, head guard Barris was embarrassed by what was done to Travis, whom he met before the experiment; the prisoners could not take on their roles and laughed, realizing that they were in an experiment. Therefore, this situation shows that the participants have still not internalized their roles and have not yet been caught up in the social impact. 
From the point of view of roles, the guards are the ones who are in a strong position. Although they know that this is an experiment, the scenes in which they are entering the magical world of power and their roles, increasing the desire to establish authority, and carrying out horrifying torture of prisoners. But it should be remembered that we humans obey when we feel safe and believe that it is right. The prisoners had agreed to participate in the experiment because they had received assurances that they would not be harmed. However, the guards are trying to cross the border, threaten the security of the prisoners and intimidate them by putting pressure on them. Thereupon, the prisoners, especially Travis, turn to revolt and rebellion against the guards and the experiment. Now guards are responsible for providing authority in their prisons, but prisoners are not criminals, so they are tended to resist efforts to provide this authority. Because of the humiliating and degrading behavior of the guards towards the prisoners, the prisoners feel inferior. And it was this dangerous feeling that caused things to go off the rails. We people don't want to feel inferior, we do not let our pride and honor to be harmed by someone else, and we move away from our personality by acting on our impulse to oppose it. The most important conflict in the film is war and the fact that the prisoner Travis, who does not like fighting, does not accept his role as a rebel and Barris who is mild, silent and suppressed by his mother takes his role as authoritative guard. In the following scenes, the rate of torture and violence by the guards increases gradually to suppress the resistance of the prisoners. Here, the idea is that the way to prevent and suppress problems must be suppressed with disproportionate force and violence. We can also say that the fact that there are leaders of the parties in this pattern of pressure and resistance refers to the need for a leader in order to ensure group dynamics and guide people. The camera which is inside the prison was important for both sides. While the prisoners saw the camera as a guarantee because they thought they were being watched from that camera and thus the experiment would end if they were subjected to violence, the camera was a threat for the guards because it created a fear that the experiment would end by seeing their violence. However, although the guards the fact that violence goes beyond the rule of "proportional violence" and becomes completely disproportionate, and the fact that no sanctions have been imposed by the perpetrator, makes things very unusual. At the end of all this, the extent of the violence experienced and applied increased so much that one participant lost his life. Then the experiment ended.

To summarize briefly; the film experiment shows successfully how obedience and authority affect and change people. I can say that through the film plays, I felt as if I was convict and involved in the movie thanks to camera angels, light and acting. However, the fact that there is so much violence and chaos in the film was extremely uncomfortable and tense when I was watching the film. If you want to see how much individuals have changed when it comes to authority and obedience, and you're not bothered by violent movies, you can definitely give the movie a chance.

REFERENCESş,E.( 20.08.2021).The Experiment: Kontrolden Çıkan Bir Grup 
Karaoglu, Ş. (10.10.2018). FİLM İNCELEMESİ: THE EXPERIMENT (2010). Sanatla Art.
Topsakal,A.(04.02.2021) The Experiment Filminin Sosyal Psikolojik Açıdan İncelenmesi. Artvin 
Üniversitesi PDRMER.

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Zeynep Turgut Herkese merhaba. Ben Zeynep Turgut. Şu anda Amasya üniversitesi İngilizce mütercim tercümanlık 4. Sınıf öğrencisiyim. Okuduğum bölüm bana her konuda gelişim imkanı sunuyor. Bölümüm adına bir çok deneyim elde etmeye çalıştım. Bunların arasında gönüllü olarak yaptığım işlerde vardı. Ayrıca bu ekibin bir parçası olmaktan çok mutluyum.