In the heart of Akron, the University of Akron is home to academics, sports and young college kids experiencing life. But at the University’s Center for the History of Psychology, there is a display of a different kind of college experience that the students involved probably wish they were never a part of.
In 1971 at Stanford University, psychologist Philip Zimbardo wanted to examine the psychology of prison life. Zimbardo recruited volunteers and had some students as guards and the others as prisoners in a mock prison. It took no time at all to see the effects of these assignments. By day two, the guards began controlling the prisoners while the prisoners were stressed and depressed. Each started to believe they were actually in prison and forgot they were just role-playing. The negative effects became so intense, the experience was scrapped after six days. It was supposed to have lasted 2 weeks.
The archives of the Center for the History of Psychology are a part of the Smithsonian Institution. Visitors can find the uniforms and other artifacts from this infamous prison experiment.
It’s wonderful to see Travel Channel showcase artifacts and exhibits right in our own town. It’s even better to see them in person. So if you haven’t already done so, be sure to visit the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Center for the History of Psychology at the University of Akron.
Who knows - you may also discover other “Mysteries at the Museum” you didn’t know were near you!
Mysteries at the Museum airs on Travel Channel, Tuesdays at 9pm. Check local listings for more.