Why Love Island is basically the Stanford prison ... | Viewsbank

Why Love Island is basically the Stanford prison experiment

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! 


It trash tv. Children watch this and think this is the right way to be. This is how out youth are growing up. It's time trash like this was scrapped.

I am perfectly aware of the Stanford Prison Experiment and to compare it to something like Love Island is ridiculous.

Totally agree with the CharmedOne's comments.  

The Stanford Prison Experiment was a study on the psychology of imprisonment.  Love Island is trash TV for the lowest common denominator.  


There are plenty of rubbish TV shows and I'm happy to give lots of them a try, though one viewing is usually enough. I don't know what it is about Love Island, could be the stupid title, the talentless presenter, the endless publicity, but something guarantees that I will never, ever watch it.
The Stanford Prison Experiment does sound watchable.

Very interesting comparison. I tend to agree. Predictable outcome in most cases, much like the Stanford Experiment. I found that a fascinating watch. Never seen love island, but i have my own life, rather than spending my time watching others live theirs.

Even the guy in charge of the Stanford Experiment admitted that it wasn't really done very well... in fact it's hard to actually define it as an "experiment" at all in the scientific sense. It was very interesting, however...

All about the dumbing down of the general public so that we can more easily be kept in our place. I've got more respect for myself than to watch programmes such as these, I'm a Celebrity, Big Brother and the like.

Can't stand this type of reality dross show and wouldn't waste my time watching it - these shows appeal to the lowest common denominator and I honestly cannot understand why anyone with even half a brain would want to watch them.

love island is crap and full of fake idiots and the people who watch it are idiots aswell 

How did prisoner and warden become lust and free sex for chavs?

How will it relate to Stanford experiment? 

It's trash lowest of the low no one with a brain cell watch .all reality rubbish should be axed no wonder people are turning to Netflix