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 experiment early.
Ethical concerns surrounding the famous experiment often draw comparisons to the Milgram experiment, which was conducted in 1961 at Yale University by Stanley Milgram, Zimbardo's former high school friend.
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 ).
In 2002, Zimbardo was elected president of the American Psychological Association. Under his direction, the organization developed the website PsychologyMatters.org, 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.
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."
Zimbardo was a guest on the Colbert Report in February 2008.
My Life: By Dr. Phil Zimbardo
Bro, You Are Doomed: Psychologist Philip Zimbardo Claims That Men Are Flaming out in School, on Dates and in Bed, Which Is Leading to Their Demise. How Close to the Truth Is Zimbardo, Wonders R Krishna
Sep 09, 2012; "Growing up, my brother and I would dawdle over the various chores that mum used to assign to us. But she would insist that we...
Psychology of going from good to bad to abominable; Maverick academic Philip Zimbardo, who devised an experiment 30 years ago that turned peace-loving students into thugs, says every human being is capable of evil. Is he right? Elizabeth Heathcote reports.(Dispatches)
Mar 09, 2008; On April 28 2004, Philip Zimbardo was in Washington for a conference. The TV was on in his hotel room and photographs of the...
First World Congress on Positive Psychology Kicks Off Today With Talks by Two of the World's Most Renowned Psychologists, Martin Seligman and Philip Zimbardo, in Philadelphia, Birthplace of Positive Psychology.
Jul 01, 2009; The First World Congress on Positive Psychology, an international conference sponsored by the International Positive Psychology...