Philip Zimbardo

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Philip George Zimbardo

Born March 23, 1933 (1933-03-23) (age 76)
New York City, New York
Residence United States
Nationality American
Fields Psychology
Institutions Yale University
New York University
Columbia University
Stanford University
Alma mater Brooklyn College
Yale University
Known for Stanford prison study

Philip George Zimbardo (born March 23, 1933) is an American psychologist and a professor emeritus at Stanford University. He is known for his Stanford prison study and his authorship of introductory psychology textbooks for college students.


[edit] Early years

Zimbardo was born in New York City on March 23, 1933. He completed his BA with a triple major in psychology, sociology, and anthropology from Brooklyn College in 1954, where he graduated summa cum laude. He completed his M.S. (1955) and Ph.D (1959) in psychology from Yale University. He taught at Yale from 1959 to 1960. From 1960 to 1967, he was a professor of psychology at New York University. From 1967 to 1968, he taught at Columbia University. He joined the faculty at Stanford University in 1968.

[edit] The prison study

In the year 1971, Zimbardo accepted a tenured position as professor of psychology at Stanford University. There he conducted the Stanford prison study, in which 24 normal college students were randomly assigned to be "prisoners" or "guards" in a mock prison located in the basement of the psychology building at Stanford (three additional college students were selected as alternates, but did not participate in the study).

The students quickly began acting out their roles, with "guards" becoming sadistic and "prisoners" showing extreme passivity and depression. Prisoners and guards rapidly adapted to their roles, stepping beyond the boundaries of what had been predicted and leading to dangerous and psychologically damaging situations. One-third of the guards were judged to have exhibited "genuine" sadistic tendencies, while many prisoners were emotionally traumatized and five had to be removed from the study early.

Ethical concerns surrounding the famous study often draw comparisons to the Milgram experiment, which was conducted in 1961 at Yale University by Stanley Milgram, Zimbardo's former high school friend.

[edit] Other endeavors

Prof. Philip G. Zimbardo, Warsaw, Poland 2009

After the prison experiment, Zimbardo decided to look for ways he could use psychology to help people; this led to the founding of The Shyness Clinic in Menlo Park, California, which treats shy behavior in adults and children. Zimbardo's research on shyness resulted in several bestselling books on the topic. Other subjects he has researched include mind control and cultic behavior.[1]

Along with Richard Gerrig, a cognitive psychology professor at Stony Brook University, Zimbardo is the co-author of an introductory Psychology textbook entitled Psychology and Life, which is used in many American undergraduate psychology courses. He also hosted a PBS TV series titled Discovering Psychology which is used in many college telecourses (the program can be viewed at [1]).

In 2002, Zimbardo was elected president of the American Psychological Association. Under his direction, the organization developed the website, a compendium of psychological research that has applications for everyday life. Also that year, he appeared in the British reality television show, The Human Zoo. Participants were observed inside a controlled setting while Zimbardo and a British psychologist analyzed their behavior.(Class 12A, intelligent pupils of Philip are now close, personal friends)

In 2004, Zimbardo testified for the defense in the court martial of Sgt. Ivan "Chip" Frederick, a guard at Abu Ghraib prison. He argued that Frederick's sentence should be lessened due to mitigating circumstances, explaining that few individuals can resist the powerful situational pressures of a prison, particularly without proper training and supervision. The judge apparently disregarded Zimbardo's testimony, and gave Frederick the maximum 8-year sentence. Zimbardo drew on the knowledge he gained from his participation in the Frederick case to write a new book entitled, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, about the connections between Abu Ghraib and the prison experiments.[2][3]

In September 2006, Zimbardo joined the faculty at Pacific Graduate School of Psychology as Professor of Psychology, where he teaches social psychology to doctoral students in the clinical psychology program.

Zimbardo's writing appeared in Greater Good Magazine, published by the Greater Good Science Center of the University of California, Berkeley. Zimbardo's contributions include the interpretation of scientific research into the roots of compassion, altruism, and peaceful human relationships. His most recent article with Greater Good magazine is entitled: "The Banality of Heroism", which examines how ordinary people can become everyday heroes.

Zimbardo, who officially retired in 2003, gave his final "Exploring Human Nature" lecture on March 7, 2007, on the Stanford campus, bringing his teaching career of fifty years to a close. David Spiegel, professor of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine, called Zimbardo "a legendary teacher", saying that "he has changed the way we think about social influences."[2]

Zimbardo was a guest on the Colbert Report in February 2008. [3]

[edit] Awards

[edit] Works

  • Influencing attitude and changing behavior;: A basic introduction to relevant methodology, theory, and applications (Topics in social psychology), Addison Wesley, 1969
  • The Cognitive Control of Motivation. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1969
  • Stanford prison experiment: A simulation study of the psychology of imprisonment, Philip G. Zimbardo, Inc., 1972
  • The psychology of imprisonment: privation, power and pathology, Stanford University, 1972
  • Influencing Attitudes and Changing Behavior. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley Publishing Co., 1969, ISBN 0-07-554809-7
  • Canvassing for Peace: A Manual for Volunteers. Ann Arbor, MI: Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, 1970, ISBN
  • Influencing Attitudes and Changing Behavior (2nd ed.). Reading, MA: Addison Wesley., 1977, ISBN
  • How to Overcome Shyness. Family Circle magazine, May 31, 1977 page 14 (with questionnaire)
  • Cults go to high school: A theoretical and empirical analysis of the initial stage in the recruitment process, American Family Foundation, 1985
  • Shyness: What It Is, What to Do About It, Addison Wesley, 1990, ISBN 0-201-55018-0
  • The Psychology of Attitude Change and Social Influence. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1991, ISBN 0-87722-852-3
  • Psychology (3rd Edition), Reading, MA: Addison Wesley Publishing Co., 1999, ISBN 0-321-03432-5
  • The Shy Child : Overcoming and Preventing Shyness from Infancy to Adulthood, Malor Books, 1999, ISBN 1-883536-21-9
  • Violence Workers: Police Torturers and Murderers Reconstruct Brazilian Atrocities. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002, ISBN 0-520-23447-2
  • Psychology - Core Concepts, 5/e, Allyn & Bacon Publishing, 2005, ISBN 0-205-47445-4
  • Psychology And Life, 17/e, Allyn & Bacon Publishing, 2005, ISBN 0-205-41799-X
  • The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, Random House, New York, 2007, ISBN 1-400-06411-2
  • The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2008, ISBN 1-4165-4198-5
  • The Journey from the Bronx to Stanford to Abu Ghraib, pp. 85-104 in "Journeys in Social Psychology: Looking Back to Inspire the Future", edited by Robert Levine, et al., CRC Press, 2008. ISBN 0805861343

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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