By Mary Kay Jimenez, Courier Staff Writer

On a quiet Sunday morning of August 14th, 1971, a college student was arrested and taken into prison.  That college student is now a teacher at Logan.

Mr. Richard Yacco, the DVA and EMP teacher, was a prisoner in the infamous psychological experiment known as the Stanford Prison Experiment.  His prisoner number was #1037.  The Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) was set to last for two weeks, and took place in the basement hallway of Jordan Hall at Stanford University.

The SPE was conducted by Philip Zimbardo, a psychology professor.  Young men, mostly college students, were assigned the role to act as either a guard or prisoner.  The basement hallway was made to look like an actual prison.  So no, Mr. Yacco did not actually go to a federal prison… Let’s be happy about that.

What made this experiment infamous was the psychological effects the experimentees had days after being in the prison simulator.  The guards became violent and used their authority to the max.  They forced the prisoners to do an unreasonable number of pushups, and made them undress and act like animals.  Still, Zimbardo didn’t want to stop the experiment.

Mr. Yacco and other prisoners named the alpha guard “John Wayne.”  Wayne was apparently the worst of all the guards.

“I believed he was truly sadistic,” said Yacco.

Mr. Yacco couldn’t tolerate the mental abuse.  He couldn’t survive even five days in the simulation.  The professors in charge of the experiment actually thought that he would be the next to  “have a break down.”  They released him shortly after his birthday and that was that.

This is one of the most outrageous psychological experiments.  Others include the Milgram experiment, the Monster Study, and the Realistic Conflict Theory.  All of these tests people’s times of adversity and how they’d react.

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