Christina Maslach “The Whistle Blower”


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Maslach and Zimbardo, 1971. 

Christina Maslach, born January 21, 1946, was responsible for putting an end to the Stanford Prison Experiment of 1971. She attended Radcliffe College in 1967 and obtained her bachelor’s degree, and then went on to pursue her Ph.D. in Psychology at Stanford University. This is where she met her future husband and team member, Phillip Zimbardo. When she finally had a chance to be a part of the research team for the experiment, she recounts the time where she met a guard, saying he seemed nice and very respectful. Later on, when she finally had had a chance to observe the same guard through the camera, she realized that he was no longer that same person. He exhibited very sadistic and aggressive behavior, something that she did not initially expect. This is what led her to become the key component of the study, also known as the “Whistleblower.” Phillip Zimbardo recounts the time she had an argument with her about the experiment. She says, “It’s terrible what you’re doing to these boys. How can you see what I saw and not care about the suffering,” (Greenfield, 2017)? Even then, Phillip Zimbardo wanted to continue, but because he was in love with Christina and respected her opinions, he came to the decision to end the experiment. Without Christina’s persuasion, this experiment could have become more dangerous and Phillip Zimbardo could have potentially made new discoveries about human behavior.


Currently, Maslach is a social psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of California in Berkley. She is well known for her involvement in the Stanford Prison Experiment, but also her research on occupational burnout. Occupational burnout is characterized by a set of symptoms that include exhaustion, headaches, sleepiness, easily angered, and closed thinking. It is also common that the worker suffered from this occupational burnout looks, acts, and seems depressed. She is the co-author of the Maslach Burnout Inventory which is to help assess professional burnout in social work positions and to understand the nature of burnout. It also includes a scale that is meant to measure the amount of burnout that a worker suffers from. This helps to understand the stressors of certain professions and overs insight on how it affects the people in society.


Source(s):  Greenfield, R. (2017). How Did the Stanford Prison Experiment Get Out of Hand?The Atlantic. Retrieved 9 December 2017, from


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