The Psychology of Evil: The Lucifer Effect in Action

The Psychology of Evil: The Lucifer Effect in Action

Featuring the author, Philip Zimbardo, Stanford University, with comments by Julian Sanchez, Reason, andWill Wilkinson, Cato Institute.

Prof. Philip Zimbardo, the conductor of the infamous 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, has become a leading authority on the psychology of evil: How is it that people are induced to commit evil, even when they consider themselves “good” people? What social dynamics encourage—or discourage—cruelty toward other human beings? The Lucifer Effect offers a full reconstruction of the 1971 experiment based on archival video, subject diaries, exit interviews, and other contemporary material. It then gives an introduction to the psychology of social morality as it has developed over the years. The book culminates with an examination of the prisoner abuse scandals of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and elsewhere, challenging accounts that would hold individual soldiers solely responsible for their actions, and indicting the chain of command for knowingly creating conditions that would lead to degrading treatment and torture.


October 24, 2011 / 40 Comments / by / in
  • Zimbardo is an ass.

  • "Us and Them" Mirrors of scarcity and death.

  • sorry, clicked dislike by mistake

  • the drug must be meth

  • zimbardo rocks! 🙂

  • more people should listen to him.. 🙂

  • Brought here by Coursera – Introduction to Psychology

  • Were their neighboors aware that was a study?

  • A major area of inquiry to be explored is the assumptions that led to the miscalculations of the Stanford experiment.

  • New drinking game: every time the guy doing the introduction says "uh" you have to do a shot!

  • I can't wait to go on my killing spree:)

  • Mind is powerful!! This video is very helpful to change one's mind ,thought and action doing some certain things in different or same situation. I'm both thumbs up in this video.

  • They use whatever methods they deem necessary.

  • Look inside yourself with honesty and you will see that you contain both good and evil aspects.Perhaps the individuals who deny their dark side the loudest are potentially the worst among us.

  • Amazing Study….shows the natural evil of mankind. Sad…..and Misanthropic suggestions to one can only conclude the Simple Mindedness of Mankind. No one has the courage to stand up for what is Right…..what a disgrace!

  • This is a great talk. Thank you.

  • EXELLENT i was thinking like dr zimbardo on the way humans can be controlled and the reason why.

  • Someone write my Psych paper on this for me please, only 2 pages long. Best paper will get a sub. 😉

  • The bible declares that Abram made a pact with the devil to rule the world through his inbred family. Beware the Jew

  •  I don't think there are any truly "bad" people. Given the right circumstances and environment, all human beings are capable of committing the most inhumane acts imaginable. As well as acts that most can not even imagine.

  • FFS 3 minutes just to introduce him, just say his name and get on with it .

  • 30.00

  • Power leads to corruption. 

  • Even schools became prisons of every kind of abuse you can think of… Every level of society is affected. Families are destroyed by psychopaths members of the same family. Nobody can trust no-one anymore in this world where the Authorities themselves are suicidal with the Global Environmental actions on this planet.

  • I don't want to freak anyone out… we ascended to the christ consciousness grid, alright… but civilization is doomed.

  • "I wanted to know what makes good people do bad things" – haha oh dear. What an explicitly stupid statement. Nothing "makes them" either. They are influenced at best.

  • the guy after the lecture was wrong. human nature's origin is peaceful & anti-evil. 
    it's also not linear.

  • The slanders the the liars the stockers that invade your privacy left and right

  • Just like co workers

  • Richard Dawkins said something about religion makes good ppl do evil

  • The MAJOR negativity in social media relates to this as well. People are anonymous, so it's easy for many to feel they have the permission to be as rude & as mean as they can be.

  • "looser?"

  • No 1st principle?.why is there is such a blatant appeal to authority?. Bad primitive parenting. Parents never explain,only demand. You'll hear I said so that's why! It's my way or the highway! You'll do what youre told or your ass is grass! Because I'm the boss!! For 18 years in a row, followed with an average of 9700 spankings or punches throughout the child's life. This is perpetuated throughout society via schools, jobs, churches etc. therefore children are NEVER taught principles, morality, philosophy, objective truth etc. which are imperative If you are to learn WHY you do things, what to "decide"! how can heroism rise from these ruins? Hence why there's so few people who will do the right thing. Most are empty shells of nothing with the slightest fucking idea what they believe and what their convictions are. They ALWAYS do what "authority" wants. Just doing my job will be the # ONE post justification for their evil until people parent CORRECTLY! Teach/grow NOT Control/stifle!

  • evil= rejection of the agency of others.

  • prison and therapy are parts of the system penalties and compassionate care are pieces of the "barrel".

  • i put this post up four years ago why does it say 9months ago

  • 26:00 so how much TV do you watch?

  • x

  • The Stanford study has little scientific validity.
    *Sample too small
    *Scientist actively involved in the experiment, not just an observer.
    *People not selected randomly.
    *Researchers tried to make these behaviors appear, not just let them develop them (or not).

    The only thing that this proves is that if someone wants he can turn some people into far worse people for a while. Which is the main point here anyway, most people don't stop and think morally in certain conditions and someone can exploit that.
    To me this insight proves that power always has to be checked, that we aren't angels, and that the root of evil can be the most banal things (like boredom).

    I don't think that a great many libertarians should see that as troubling. In fact, it is a widely held belief in that community.

  • 14:32 Maybe its contextual? No its two bad apples! because other soldiers were not abusing prisoners like that.

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