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BBC Prison Study

The official website for the BBC Prison Study, that accompanies the groundbreaking 2002 BBC Prison Study broadcast, went online in September 2008. The Prison Study put volunteers in a prison-style setting and then filmed them. The purpose of the experiment, conducted by British researchers, was to see how relationships evolved in places such as prisons, as well as in other institutions where unequal power exists, such as schools, barracks, and offices. What they found "changed our basic understanding of how groups and power work"; the study showed when and why people accept or challenge unequal power in groups. Visitors should click on "View The Movie Map", which is in the top left hand corner of the webpage, to see a menu of movie clips of different situations at the prison. The clips explore such situations as "Food Inequalities" to "Prisoners Mobilize Against Guards" to "The Emergence of a New Guard Regime". The menu in the upper left hand corner of the web page has a link to "Activities" which will prove especially useful for educators. The Activities link is further divided into the following sections, "Discussion Questions", "Exercises", and "Psychometric Tests". Each of these sections allows for more in-depth study of the issues raised by the Prison Study. The Psychometric Tests are those given to the volunteers in the study, and can be taken by visitors to the site and compared to the volunteers' scores. The "Resources" link, in the menu in the upper left hand corner of the webpage, includes hypertext links to "Scientific Publications", "Quantitative Data", and a "Glossary", that provide, respectively, a number of full-text articles about the Prison Study that have been published, the data collected during the study, and definitions of psychological terms used in the study.
Scout Publication
Date Issued
Date of Scout Publication
January 9th, 2009
Date Of Record Creation
January 9th, 2009 at 9:21am
Date Of Record Release
January 26th, 2009 at 11:01am
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