The Psychology of Good and Evil: Why Children, Adults, and Groups Help and Harm Others

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-07-21
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

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This book gathers the knowledge gained in a lifelong study of the roots of goodness and evil. Since the late 1960s, Ervin Staub has studied the causes of helpful, caring, generous, and altruistic behavior. He has also studied bullying and victimization in schools as well as youth violence and its prevention. He spent years studying the origins of genocide and mass killing and has examined the Holocaust, the genocide of the Armenians, the autogenocide in Cambodia, the disappearances in Argentina, the genocide in Rwanda. He has applied his work in many real world settings and has consulted parents, teachers, police officers, and political leaders. Since September 11th, he has appeared frequently in the media explaining the causes and prevention of terrorism. Professor Staub's work is collected together for the first time in The Psychology of Good and Evil.

Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction and Core Concepts: 1. Introduction: good and evil: themes and overview
2. Studying the pivotal role of bystanders
3. Studying and promoting altruism and studying and working to prevent genocide: the guiding role of early survival
4. Is evil a useful concept for psychologists and others?
5. Basic needs and their role in altruism and aggression
Part II. The Roots of Helping and Passivity: 6. Helping a distressed person: social, personality, and stimulus determinants
7. Spontaneous (or impulsive) helping
8. Social and prosocial behavior
9. The power to help others: report on a Psychology Today survey on values, helping, and well being
Part III. How Children Become Caring and Helpful vs. Hostile and Aggressive: Section 1. Culture, Socialization, and Children's Experience: 10. Origins of caring, helping, and nonaggression: parental socialization, the family system, schools, and cultural influence
11. Natural socialization: participation in positive behavior and experiential learning
12. The origins of hostility and aggression
13. Cultural societal roots of violence: youth violence
14. Bystanders and bullying
15. Students' experience of bullying and other aspects of their lives in middle school in Belchertown
16. Self-esteem and aggression
17. Father-daughter incest
Section 2. Interventions to Reduce Aggression and Promote Caring and Helping: 18. Reducing boys' aggression: learning to fulfill basic needs constructively
19. The Caring Schools project
Part IV. The Origins of Genocide and Other Collective Violence: 20. A note on the cultural societal roots of violence
21. Psychology of bystanders, perpetrators, and heroic helpers
22. Steps along a continuum of destruction
23. The SS and the psychology of perpetrators: The interweaving and merging of role and person
24. The origins of genocide: Rwanda
25. Bystanders as evil: the example of Rwanda
26. Individual and group identities in genocide and mass killing
27. Mass murder: origins, prevention, and US involvement
28. When instigation does not result in mass murder
29. Persian Gulf Conflict was reflection of stormy undercurrents in US psyche
30. Mob violence: societal-cultural sources, instigators, group processes, and participants
31. Understanding and Preventing Police Violence
Part V. The Aftermath of Mass Violence: Trauma, Healing, and Reconciliation: 32. Preventing group violence
33. Kosovo: the need for flexible bystander response
34. The effects of violence on groups and their members
35. Healing, reconciliation, and forgiving after genocide and other collective violence
36. Healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation in Rwanda: project summary and outcome
37. Further avenues to prevention
38. Commentary: human destructiveness and the refugee experience
39. A vision of holocaust education in holocaust centers and schools
40. Out of hiding
41. Review of: Legacy of Silence: encounters with children of the Third Reich
42. What can we learn from this tragedy?: a reaction days after September 11th, 2001
Part VI. Creating Morally Inclusive Societies: 43. Transforming the bystander: altruism, caring, and social responsibility
44. Changing cultures and society
45. Blind vs. constructive patriotism: moving from embeddedness in the group to critical loyalty and action
46. Manifestations of blind vs. constructive patriotism: summary of findings
47. The ideal university in the real world
Conclusion: 48. Creating caring societies
Appendix: what are your values and goals?

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