The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-01-22
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks

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What makes good people do bad things? Renowned social psychologist Philip Zimbardo has an answer, and in The Lucifer Effect he explains how-and why-we are all susceptible to the lure of "the dark side." Drawing on examples from history as well as his own trailblazing research, Zimbardo, the creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment, details how situational forces and group dynamics can work in concert to make monsters out of decent men and women. By illuminating the causes behind this disturbing metamorphosis, and by highlighting the ways in which individuals can resist the temptation to give in to evil, Zimbardo enables us to better understand a variety of phenomena, from corporate malfeasance to the prisoner abuse and torture in Abu Ghraib to organized genocide. This is a book that forces us to reexamine what we are capable of doing, individually and collectively. Like Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem and Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate, The Lucifer Effect is a shocking, engrossing study that will change the way we view human behavior. Book jacket.

Author Biography

Philip Zimbardo is professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford University and has also taught at Yale University, New York University, and Columbia University. He is the co-author of Psychology and Life and author of Shyness, which together have sold more than 2.5 million copies. Zimbardo has been president of the American Psychological Association and is now director of the Stanford Center on Interdisciplinary Policy, Education, and Research on Terrorism. He also narrated the award-winning PBS series Discovering Psychology, which he helped create. In 2004, he acted as an expert witness in the court-martial hearings of one of the American army reservists accused of criminal behavior in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. His informative website, www.prisonexperiment.org is visited by millions every year. Visit the author’s personal website at www.zimbardo.com.

From the Hardcover edition.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
List of Illustrationsp. xxi
The Psychology of Evil: Situated Character Transformationsp. 3
Sunday's Surprise Arrestsp. 23
Let Sunday's Degradation Rituals Beginp. 40
Monday's Prisoner Rebellionp. 57
Tuesday's Double Trouble: Visitors and Riotersp. 80
Wednesday Is Spiraling Out of Controlp. 100
The Power to Parolep. 130
Thursday's Reality Confrontationsp. 154
Friday's Fade to Blackp. 174
The SPE's Meaning and Messages: The Alchemy of Character Transformationsp. 195
The SPE: Ethics and Extensionsp. 229
Investigating Social Dynamics: Power, Conformity, and Obediencep. 258
Investigating Social Dynamics: Deindividuation, Dehumanization, and the Evil of Inactionp. 297
Abu Ghraib's Abuses and Tortures: Understanding and Personalizing Its Horrorsp. 324
Putting the System on Trial: Command Complicityp. 380
Resisting Situational Influences and Celebrating Heroismp. 444
Notesp. 491
Indexp. 535
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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