Pathology Of Power

The pathology of power is an aspect of behavior that was identified during the Philip Zimbardo Stanford Prison Experiment in 1971.

This theory states that both prisoners and guards enter into the prison setting with a particular mindset: guards with a "bully" mentality and prisoners with a basic disrespect for authority. The study, scheduled to run for 14 days was terminated after 6 days due to serious problems amongst the participants. In retrospect, they found that while the "prisoners" were pleased to leave the study prematurely, the "guards" were reluctant due to a basic enjoyment of the power they had wielded. 'Pathology of power' was the term coined to describe the enjoyment the "guards" received from their power and how quickly they began to mistreat the "prisoners" after they received this power.

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