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CLE Curriculum: Simulations

Behind Closed Gates

Potential dynamics when one group or individual is given complete authority over another

You have entered the "Behind Closed Gates" simulation and will be working as a social scientist. As you enter, the gate shuts behind you, and you must discover what makes this place tick.

The simulation is loosely based on an experiment that was conducted at Stanford University in 1971. The psychologist who designed that experiment, Phillip Zimbardo, wanted to see how typical people would act if they were asked to take on roles of prisoners and prison guards for a two-week period. The study was stopped after only six days because of escalating, abusive behavior of the guards and concerns about the well-being of the prisoners. You can see more about this study and about prisons in general by visiting the "Resource Center."


Explore the simulation and then connect the results to one or more contexts. You will need evidence from the simulation (settings with resulting graphs), from the chosen context, and from real-world events.


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