Philip G. Zimbardo
(born March 23
) is an American psychologist
and a professor emeritus at Stanford University
. He is known for his Stanford prison experiment
and his authorship of introductory psychology textbooks
for college students.
Zimbardo was born in New York City
on March 23
. He completed his BA with a triple major in psychology
, 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
The prison experiment
In the year 1971, Zimbardo accepted a tenured position as professor of psychology at Stanford University. There he conducted the infamous Stanford prison experiment
, 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 experiment).
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.
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
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.
- 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
- 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
My Life: By Dr. Phil Zimbardo
- Zimbardo's official website
- Website for The Lucifer Effect
- "Exploring Human Nature" website
- Official website of Stanford prison experiment
- Zimbardo, P. (2007). From Heavens to Hells to Heroes In-Mind Magazine.
- Summary and evaluation of the Stanford prison experiment
- Center for Interdisciplinary Policy, Education, and Research on Terrorism (CIPERT) website
- Philip Zimbardo on Democracy Now! [[March 30], 2007]
- "The Banality of Heroism" by Zeno Franco and Philip Zimbardo, Greater Good magazine, Fall-Winter 2006-07
- Bryan Appleyard (2007, April 8). "Don't kid yourself, we can all be evil" Sunday Times
- Zimbardo interviewed on the Daily Show
- Interviewed on ShrinkRap Radio
- Philip Zimbardo interviewed on ABC Radio National's weekly program All in the Mind (July 28, 2007)
- Zimbardo explains, among other things, why he almost once decided not to continue studying psychology. Article by Dania Akkad in the Monterey Herald September 23, 2007.
- The Lucifer Effect from Random House
- Detailed book review of The Lucifer Effect