Welcome to the official site for the BBC Prison Study
The BBC Prison Study explores the social and psychological consequences of putting people in groups of unequal power. It examines when people accept inequality and when they challenge it.
Findings from the study were first broadcast by the BBC in 2002. They have since been published in leading scientific journals and textbooks and have also entered the core student syllabus. They have changed our basic understanding of how groups and power work.
More recently, insights gained from the study have also provided the basis for a radical reinterpretation of Stanley Milgam's 'Obedience to Authority' research.
In this website we tell the story of what happened in the study. We explain the scientific implications of our findings. We answer frequently asked questions about the study. We also provide a series of activities and resources that allow for deeper insights into the implications of the study for a range significant issues – from the nature of leadership to the origins of tyranny.
Whether you are a student, a teacher or an interested member of the public, we hope that you find the material here both interesting and useful. We also welcome comments and insights that will help us to improve the site for visitors who come after you.
Alex Haslam Steve Reicher