Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Colbert in the Garden of Good and Evil

A primer on good and evil with Stephen Colbert and band leader Guy Lombardo...wait a minute, sorry, it's professor and author Phillip Zimbardo. He's the author of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (Random House, 2007). About the book Dr. Zimbardo says on his web site, http://www.lucifereffect.org/:
In this book, I summarize more than 30 years of research on factors that can create a "perfect storm" which leads good people to engage in evil actions. This transformation of human character is what I call the "Lucifer Effect," named after God's favorite angel, Lucifer, who fell from grace and ultimately became Satan.

Rather than providing a religious analysis, however, I offer a psychological account of how ordinary people sometimes turn evil and commit unspeakable acts. As part of this account, The Lucifer Effect tells, for the first time, the full story behind the Stanford Prison Experiment, a now-classic study I conducted in 1971. In that study, normal college students were randomly assigned to play the role of guard or inmate for two weeks in a simulated prison, yet the guards quickly became so brutal that the experiment had to be shut down after only six days.
It's from The Colbert Report, Monday February, 11, 2008.

-Fight the powers.

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