#87 – Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

Philip Zimbardo


Philip Zimbardo is internationally recognized as a leading “voice and face of contemporary psychology” through his widely seen PBS-TV series, Discovering Psychology, his media appearances, best-selling trade books on shyness, and his classic research, The Stanford Prison Experiment.

He has been a Stanford University professor since 1968 (now an Emeritus Professor), having taught previously at Yale, NYU, and Columbia University. He continues teaching graduate students at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, and at the Naval Post Graduate School (Monterey). He has been given numerous awards and honors as an educator, researcher, writer, and service to the profession. Recently, he was awarded the Havel Foundation Prize for his lifetime of research on the human condition. Among his more than 300 professional publications and 50 books is the oldest current textbook in psychology, Psychology and Life, now in its 18th Edition, and Core Concepts in Psychology in its 5th Edition. His current research interests continue in the domain of social psychology, with a broad emphasis on everything interesting to study from shyness to time perspective, madness, cults, vandalism, political psychology, torture, terrorism, and evil. Noted for his personal and professional efforts to actually ‘give psychology away to the public’, Zimbardo has also been a social-political activist, challenging the Government’s wars in Vietnam and Iraq, as well as the American Correctional System. Zimbardo has served as elected President of the Western Psychological Association (twice), President of the American Psychological Association, the Chair of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) representing 63 scientific, math and technical associations (with 1.5 million members), and now is Chair of the Western Psychological Foundation. He heads a philanthropic foundation in his name to promote education in his ancestral Sicilian towns. Zimbardo adds to his retirement list activities: serving as the new executive director of a center on terrorism, the Center for Interdisciplinary Policy, Education, and Research on Terrorism (CIPERT). He is most excited by the publication of his most important contribution: The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (Random House, 2007). To find out more about this very important book, go to www.lucifereffect.com.



  1. Posted June 24, 2007 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    That mention of http://www.lucifereffect.com, could be linked, IMHO

  2. Posted June 25, 2007 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Anne, you are right! I have done it! Thanks.

  3. Rick Vail
    Posted May 15, 2008 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    I just listened to this program for the second time and will no doubt listen a third fourth and fifth time sometime down the line. I am not surprised that there isn’t any comments because not much really needs to be said, I mean this is Philip Zimbardo we’re talking about. I bow and repeat “we’re not worthy-we’re not worthy-we’re not worthy.” Most people are star-struck by professional athletes or movie stars. Well I worked for a professional baseball team and have met several very famous entertainers and felt nothing. But meeting someone like the late William F. Buckley, Stanley Milgrim, or Dr. Zimbardo would have me tripping all over myself. Great show, great guest, great interview.

  4. Suzanne
    Posted September 4, 2008 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    This is a disgusting experiment and should not pass an ethics committee. Sometimes psychology is as evil as past barbaric medical treatments were.

  5. John
    Posted November 22, 2009 at 2:54 pm | Permalink


    Recently stumbled upon your podcast, and really enjoyed this interview, I never had the means to study psychology as an undergraduate, but always thought I would be interested in it. I look forward to working my way through your podcasts. I’ve already recommended it to friends.

  6. John Knight
    Posted January 3, 2010 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Wow, intense stuff. Thank you for putting this thought provoking interview up. There are some communities I must share this with.

    Thanks again,

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