I first met Philip Zimbardo in the mid-1970s at Stanford University when I was a volunteer researcher one summer at the hypnosis laboratory of Ernest Hilgard. Just as I was then, I continue to be mesmerized by the scope and depth of his genius.
Philip Zimbardo is the architect of the many seminal experiments in the field of social psychology, including the Stanford Prisoner Experiment. He implores us to realize that all of us can be caught in the trap of antisocial behavior. But it’s not so much that there are “bad apples,” rather a bad apple cart that creates aberrant behavior.
The following are seven social processes that contribute to a person’s decline — spiraling toward moral disengagement, which can lead to evil behavior.
Mindlessly taking the first small steps of disrespect
Dehumanization of others
De-individuation of self (anonymity)
Diffusion of personal responsibility
Blind obedience to authority
Uncritical conformity to group norms
Passive tolerance of evil through inaction or indifference
The author of introductory psychology books, college textbooks, and other notable works, Philip has written: The Lucifer Effect, The Time Paradox, and The Time Cure. He is also the founder and president of the Heroic Imagination Project and has appeared on many television specials.
The scope of Philip Zimbardo’s wisdom and experience is vast, and we will certainly be edified in December when he presents his keynote: My Journey From Creating Evil to Inspiring Heroism. I look forward to seeing you there.