Why Love Island is basically the Stanford prison experiment
I’m sure most of you are familiar with Love Island (I have personally found it inescapable), however not all of you may be aware of the Stanford prison experiment. In 1971 the psychologist Philip Zimbardo rounded up Stanford University students and randomly allocated them to either take on a guard or prisoner role within his fake prison. The idea was to test how the dynamic would change their behaviours, and whether or not they would adapt to their roles. Their behaviour took such a drastic change that they had to finish the experiment early for everyone’s safety. Believe it or not, this experiment has alarming parallels to the nation’s favourite reality TV show.
The first similarity that jumps out is the layout of the villa and the prison are designed to encourage certain behaviours. The fact that the contestants are only allowed to sleep in double beds incites a reaction which they want because it makes good television. It’s almost like testing a hypothesis even though you know the end result because it’s always the same (they’ve literally tested it themselves through seasons of television). We know exactly what happens when you force young, single and attractive people to sleep in the same bed as each other, the same way that Philip Zimbardo was familiar with the concept of a “power trip”. Whether you are forcing someone to share a bed with someone or live behind bars you know for a fact that you’re inciting a response.
They also both have big brother style monitoring, non-intrusive cameras that are designed to be forgotten. Everyone goes in knowing the rules, but once you get there no one is monitoring them. At its core it’s forcing people to behave a certain way, filming their reaction for gain (either knowledge of the human condition or essential viewing for reality fans) and having them lose touch of social norms and their usual behaviour. The only thing that becomes important is the game that they are playing, instead of the way that they are presenting themselves to the world, whether that be taking on the role of the guard a little too seriously or doing everything in their power to couple up with someone that they would never normally like. There was money to be made through success in both instances which acts as a massive motivator even though some people may not admit it. I’m fully aware that Jess and Dom stayed together and had their big TV wedding in swimwear (I think we can all safely assume that was definitely for love with zero ulterior motives).
Obviously, there are massive differences between the two, one reduced people to their primitive forms and the other was a psychology experiment. The Stanford prison experiment was cancelled after six days and Love Island never seems to go away.
Do you watch Love Island and agree with what was said in this blog, or just have any opinions? Let us know in the comments down below!