Zimbardo, Philip G. 1933–

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Zimbardo, Philip G. 1933–

(Philip George Zimbardo)


Born March 23, 1933, in New York, NY; son of George and Margeret Zimbardo; married Rose Abdelnour, 1958 (divorced, 1969); married Christina Maslach (a professor), August 10, 1972; children: Adam, Zara. Education: Brooklyn College (now of the City University of New York), A.B. (summa cum laude), 1954; Yale University, M.S., 1955, Ph.D., 1959. Politics: Liberal Democrat. Religion: Roman Catholic.


Home—San Francisco, CA. Office—Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. E-mail—[email protected]


Yale University, New Haven, CT, assistant professor of psychology, 1959-60; New York University, New York City, assistant professor of psychology, 1960-67; Columbia University, New York City, associate professor of psychology, 1968; Stanford University, Stanford, CA, professor of psychology, 1968—. Served as a visiting professor at Yale University, 1962; Stanford University, summer, 1963; Barnard College, 1966; University of Louvain, Belgium, part-time, summer, 1966; University of Texas, 1967; Columbia University, 1967-68; Klingenstein Professor of Race Relations, University of Hawaii, summer, 1973; International Graduate School of Behavioral Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology at Lugano, Switzerland, summer, 1978; University of Warsaw, summer, 2000; Webster University, Vienna, 2007; Monterey Naval Postgraduate School, senior fellow, 2004—.


American Psychological Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Phi Beta Kappa.


Distinguished teacher award from American Psychological Foundation, 1975; distinguished research award from California State Psychological Association, 1978; Distinguished Teaching Award, Phi Beta Kappa, 1998.


Cognitive Control of Motivation, Scott, Foresman (Glenview, IL), 1969.

(With Ebbe Ebbesen and wife, Christina Maslach) Influencing Attitudes and Changing Behavior, Addison-Wesley (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 1969, 2nd edition, 1977.

(With Robert Abelson) Canvassing for Peace: A Manual for Volunteers, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, 1970.

(With F.L. Ruchund) Lehrbuch der Psychologie; Eine Einfuhrung fur Studenten der Psychologie, Medizin und Padagogik, Springer-Verlag (Berlin, New York), 1974.

Psychology and Life, Scott, Foresman (Glenview, IL), 1975, 10th edition, 1979.

(With Ebbe Ebbesen and wife, Christina Maslach) Shyness: What It Is, What to Do about It, Addison-Wesley (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 1977.

(With David Dempsey) Psychology & You, Scott (Glenview, IL), 1978.

(With Shirley Radl) Shyness Workbook, A & W Press, 1979.

(Consulting editor) Patricia Niles Middlebrook, Social Psychology & Modern Life, Knopf, distributed by Random House (New York, NY), 1980.

Essentials of Psychology and Life, Scott (Glenview, IL), 1980.

(With Shirley Radl) Shy Child, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1980.

The Shy Child: A Parent's Guide to Preventing and Overcoming Shyness from Infancy to Adulthood, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1981, Malor Books (Cambridge, MA), 1999.

(With Ann L. Weber) Psychology, HarperCollins College Publishers (New York, NY), 1994.

Psychology: Core Concepts, Allyn and Bacon (Boston, MA), 2003.

AP Psychology, Allyn and Bacon (Boston, MA), 2005.

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, Random House (New York, NY), 2007.

(With John Boyd) The Time Paradox: Understanding and Using the Revolutionary New Science of Time, Free Press (New York, NY), 2008.


(With Craig Haney) J. Tapp and F. Levine, editors, Law, Justice, and the Individual in Society, Holt (New York, NY), 1972.

(With wife, Christina Maslach) Psychology for Our Times: Readings, Scott, Foresman (Glenview, IL), 1973.

M. Deutsch and H. Hornstein, editors, Applying Social Psychology, L. Erlbaum Association, 1975.

(With Allen L. Hammond) Readings on Human Behavior: The Best of Science '80-'86, Scott, Foresman (Glenview, IL), 1988.

The Psychology of Attitude Change and Social Influence, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1991.

(With Martha K. Huggins and Mika Haritos-Fatouros) Violence Workers: Police Torturers and Murderers Reconstruct Brazilian Atrocities, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2002.

Also contributor to psychology journals.


Philip G. Zimbardo graduated summa cum laude from Brooklyn College, which has since become part of the City University of New York, then continued his education at Yale University, earning both his master's degree and his doctorate. A writer and educator with a background in psychology, he has taught at a number of universities over the course of his career, including Yale University, New York University, Columbia University, and, since 1968, Stanford University. He has written numerous volumes on psychology, focusing on what makes people who they are. In addition, he has contributed to a number of other books as well.

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, published in 2007, has become one of Zimbardo's most often cited works. The origins of the book are rooted in an experiment that he conducted at Stanford University in 1971, during which he recreated a prison setting at Stanford and assigned the roles of guards and prisoners to a number of students. The idea was to see how people behaved within these defined parts. Originally, Zimbardo intended to allow the experiment to run over a period of two weeks. However, the reactions of the students were so extreme and ultimately dangerous that he was forced to cut the entire experiment short, ending it before the one-week mark. This example convinced Zimbardo that situations can cause people to behave in manners that they otherwise would never imagine. In the case of wartime prison situations, normal soldiers have been known to act cruelly and to torture the individuals under their control. Similarly, Zimbardo notes that individuals can also react as heroes, even if they ordinarily would not classify themselves as particularly brave or heroic, if the situation fosters that sort of behavior and makes those actions necessary. Over the course of the book, Zimbardo examines the psychological conditioning that results in all types of circumstances. He points to conditions at Abu Ghraib prison and the behavior of the U.S. military personnel in charge there as a prime example of what he has dubbed the "Lucifer Effect," a direct reference to the angel Lucifer who somehow became Satan, despite his previous nature.

Robert Levine, in a review for American Scientist, commented that "Zimbardo has a well-earned reputation for tackling large and complex problems. In this book, he takes on nothing less than the psychology of evil itself. More specifically, he focuses on the social forces that elicit evil actions." Levine continued: "Zimbardo doesn't deny that some truly evil people exist in the world. However, most of the damage humans have caused one another could not have occurred without the active participation of large numbers of everyday individuals." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly praised Zimbardo's effort in "combining a dense but readable and often engrossing exposition of social psychology research with an impassioned moral seriousness."

Zimbardo writes: "All my work has as its original purpose improving the human condition by illuminating ways we can go or have gone wrong. I try to show the power of situations to overwhelm people. It is important in my research and writing that I am of the people, learn from them, and give back to them all that I believe may help improve the human condition."



American Scientist, September 1, 2007, Robert Levine, "The Evil That Men Do," p. 440.

Booklist, April 15, 2007, Brendan Driscoll, review of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, p. 6.

Chronicle of Higher Education, June 4, 2004, "Psychologist Who Conducted Landmark 1971 Experiment Says Allegations of Abuse at Iraqi Prison Are Not Surprising."

Discover, April 1, 2007, "Think You're above Doing Evil? Think Again," p. 68.

First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, February 1, 2008, Cole R. Milliard, review of The Lucifer Effect, p. 51.

Psychology Today, September 1, 2000, "Emperor of the Edge," p. 34.

Publishers Weekly, February 12, 2007, review of The Lucifer Effect, p. 74.

Science News, February 9, 2008, review of The Lucifer Effect, p. 95.

Washington Monthly, December 1, 2007, "The Monthly Interview: Philip Zimbardo," p. 18.