Maverick academic Philip Zimbardo says we are all capable of evil


Professor Zimbardo was recently interviewed by The Independent outlining the parallels between his Stanford Prison study and incidents at Abu Ghraib. In the article (and his book The Lucifer Effect) Zimbardo provides interesting insights into the original study and the effect it has had on his life. “[Stanford] was a little week-long study,” he says, “but it has affected my whole life.” His thoughts are not all doom and gloom about human nature; where there are villains there are also heroes and his current interest lies in bringing out the good in all of us. Even Lucifer had the potential to be good as he was a fallen angel.

0 thoughts on “Maverick academic Philip Zimbardo says we are all capable of evil

  1. Adrian Frost says:

    I think Zimbardo is interesting as a psychologist… Alongside Carl, Sigmund, Jean et al he’s reached that height where you get a first name as well as a surname. He’s also one of the few psychologists whose work is presented with such a mixture of the personal and the academic… There’s a distinct sense of ‘narrative’ about it all: his personal story entwined with the ‘story’ of his research and of the various victims, but also the story of psychology developing as a science and coming to terms with its’ ethical dilemmas. Obviously this is linked to the nature of his research – you don’t see many cognitive psychologists portrayed in such a fashion.
    This sense of dramatic narrative is heightened by the way Zimbardo himself is presented in the media: the ‘maverick’ who is ‘devoted to darkness’ – and the beard always reminds me of the original 1970’s version of the Master in Doctor Who (far superior to the current version methinks, but that’s probably a debate for a different corner of the blogosphere!)

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