Monitor on Psychology - October 2011 - (Page 11)
Zimbardo re-examines his landmark Stanford prison study
conditions or show courage in a life-or-death situation or other Thinking back, Philip G. Zimbardo, PhD, believes his historic crisis. Stanford Prison Experiment was born out of his tendency to So, after years of being known as “Dr. Evil,” he said he has multitask. completely shifted his focus to promoting good. “I have to now “The way I dealt with having to teach so much was a kind be the ‘Good Witch of the West,’ or at least the West Coast, of intellectual cheating,” said Zimbardo. “I had to use teaching change my identity and promote heroism,” Zimbardo said. ideas to generate research ideas and then use research to feed As such, Zimbardo has launched the Heroic Imagination back into teaching.” Project, a nonprofit organization that promotes building The idea for the experiment came to Zimbardo after he asked his Stanford psychology students to examine what happens when someone goes to prison for the first time. As part of their independent study, his students came up with the idea to set up a mock prison among themselves in their dorm one weekend. That test, Zimbardo later learned, was rife with tension. “When they presented the project in class, one kid turned to another and said, ‘You can’t be my friend anymore because you did such terrible things when you were a guard,’” Zimbardo remembered. “It was very clear that there was something powerful there, and I felt we should follow it up in a more systematic way.” Zimbardo’s own follow-up experiment, which took place from Aug. 14–19, 1971 in the basement of Stanford University’s Jordan Hall, demonstrated how extreme situations can provoke uncharacteristic behavior. Since then, Zimbardo has been asked to serve as From ‘Dr. Evil’ to the ‘Good Witch of the West’: Dr. Philip G. Zimbardo shared how the an expert witness in similar, real-life Stanford Prison Experiment led to his current work on heroism. situations, including the Abu Ghraib military abuse scandal. character and courage. The project includes an educational Zimbardo, who participated in a question-and-answer program, through which he and other psychologists train session moderated by psychology historian Wade Pickren, youth leaders and middle and high school staff to teach PhD, at APA’s Annual Convention, went on to explain how students how they can resist bullying and peer pressure and prisons became a springboard for his pioneering research on create positive change in their communities. shyness. “I thought, ‘In what situations do people give up their freedom voluntarily, freedom of speech and of association — —J. CHAMBERLIN isn’t that shy people?’” he said. “A shy person is his own prison and guard.” To watch Zimbardo talk more about his Heroic His latest research on heroism is also a byproduct the Imagination Project, click here. Stanford prison experiment. When writing his book “The Lucifer Effect” (2008) about how good people can turn evil, Zimbardo discovered there was a dearth of substantive research on why some people are able to resist negative influences in bad
OCTOBER 2011 • MONITOR ON PSYCHOLOGY 11
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Monitor on Psychology - October 2011
Monitor on Psychology - October 2011
Subtle and stunning slights
From the CEO
Live science on the showroom floor
Zimbardo re-examines his landmark study
Ready, set, mentor
Attention students and ECPs: Self-care is an ‘ethical imperative’
Suicide risk is high among war veterans in college, study finds
Psychotherapy is effective and here’s why
From toilet to tap: getting people to drink recycled water
What’s ahead for psychology practice?
A push for more accountability is changing the accreditation process
Peer, parental support prove key to fighting childhood obesity
Popular media’s message to girls
Bullying may contribute to lower test scores
A consequence of cuckoldry: More (and better) sex?
Manatees’ exquisite sense of touch may lead them into dangerous waters
Building a better tomato
How will China’s only children care for their aging parents?
‘Spice’ and ‘K2’: New drugs of abuse now on the market
Many suspects don’t understand their right to remain silent
Boosting minority achievement
Where’s the progress?
And social justice for all
Helping new Americans find their way
Segregation’s ongoing legacy
A new way to combat prejudice
Retraining the biased brain
Suppressing the ‘white bears’
How to eat better — mindlessly
Protect your aging brain
Must babies always breed marital discontent?
The danger of stimulants
Keys to making integrated care work
Is technology ruining our kids?
Facebook: Friend or foe?
The promise of Web 3.0
NIMH invests in IT enhanced interventions
PsycAdvocates work to safeguard key programs
The psychology of spending cuts
APA’s strategic plan goes live
Vote on bylaws amendments
Monitor on Psychology - October 2011