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Dr Philip Zimbardo - The Stanford Prison Experiment


Unveiling the Secrets of Human Behavior

Dr. Philip Zimbardo is a world-renowned psychologist, best known for his groundbreaking Stanford Prison Experiment, which has had a lasting impact on the field of social psychology. Throughout his illustrious career, Zimbardo has made significant contributions to our understanding of human behavior, delving into topics such as conformity, obedience, time perspective, and heroism. In this exclusive 2-hour video interview, Dr. Zimbardo shares his insights, experiences, and wisdom, offering a unique glimpse into the mind of one of the most influential psychologists of our time.

Born on March 23, 1933, in New York City, Philip George Zimbardo grew up in a humble, working-class environment. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology, sociology, and anthropology from Brooklyn College in 1954, and subsequently pursued his Ph.D. in psychology at Yale University, which he received in 1959. After completing his studies, Zimbardo embarked on an illustrious academic career that spanned over 50 years, during which he taught at prestigious institutions such as Yale University, New York University, and Columbia University, ultimately becoming a professor emeritus at Stanford University.

One of Dr. Zimbardo’s most significant contributions to psychology is the Stanford Prison Experiment, conducted in 1971. This controversial study aimed to investigate the psychological effects of perceived power, with participants randomly assigned roles as either prisoners or guards in a simulated prison environment. The experiment was terminated prematurely due to the extreme and abusive behavior exhibited by the guards, highlighting the powerful influence of situational factors on human behavior. The findings from the Stanford Prison Experiment continue to be a topic of discussion and debate, and the study remains a cornerstone in the field of social psychology.

In addition to his work on the Stanford Prison Experiment, Dr. Zimbardo has conducted numerous other studies, each contributing to our understanding of human behavior. One such study is the “Broken Windows Theory,” which he co-authored with James Q. Wilson in 1982. This theory posits that visible signs of disorder and neglect in a community, such as broken windows, can lead to an increase in crime and antisocial behavior. This theory has had a significant impact on the development of community policing strategies and crime prevention initiatives across the globe.

Dr. Zimbardo has also made substantial contributions to the study of time perspective. His research in this area explores how individuals’ attitudes towards the past, present, and future can influence their decision-making, mental health, and overall well-being. Zimbardo’s work on time perspective has led to the development of the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI), a widely-used assessment tool in both clinical and research settings.

In recent years, Dr. Zimbardo has shifted his focus towards promoting heroism and the development of everyday heroes. He founded the Heroic Imagination Project (HIP) in 2010, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering heroic actions in individuals and communities. Through the HIP, Zimbardo aims to educate people on how to overcome negative situational influences and empower them to take positive, heroic actions when faced with challenges.

In this exclusive video interview, Dr. Philip Zimbardo delves into the intricacies of human behavior, discussing his most notable studies, the lessons he has learned throughout his career, and his vision for the future of psychology. He also reflects on the importance of understanding the situational and systemic factors that shape our behavior and shares valuable insights on how individuals can cultivate resilience, empathy, and a greater sense of responsibility.

As one of the most respected and influential psychologists of our time, Dr. Zimbardo’s work has transformed our understanding of human behavior and has inspired countless researchers, educators, and mental health professionals. This rare and exclusive interview is a must-watch for anyone interested in psychology, social dynamics, and the human condition.

Don’t miss this opportunity to gain valuable insights from Dr. Philip Zimbardo himself. Explore the depths of human behavior, learn from his experiences, and discover the secrets behind what drives our actions and decisions. As you watch this comprehensive interview, you’ll come away with a deeper understanding of the world of psychology and the power of situational factors in shaping who we are.


00:00 | Trailer
03:34 | Brian’s thoughts on the episode
06:07 | Brian’s introduction
07:02 | Why Philip Zimbardo and Christina Maslach visit London biennually
08:46 | Philip’s background and early life
16:55 | What Stanley Milgram’s electric shock experiments revealed about human nature
29:29 | Stanley’s experiment was considered the only unethical experiment, until Philip’s
32:46 | Philip’s prison experiment and its later connection to Abu Ghraib
42:10 | Why behaviour deteriorates so quickly and becomes sexual
49:59 | Philip’s role in the experiment, why and when he stopped the experiment
1:01:51 | Would the same thing happen today, and what would happen using only female participants
1:04:09 | The gradual slippery slope towards evil, as was seen in Nazi Germany
1:05:49 | The current horrific rise of right wing political movements in Hungary, Turkey, Italy, Trump, Putin
1:06:16 | Philip’s view on who is attracted to right wing, national isolationist opinion and why
1:09:09 | The fall-out and aftermath of the prison experiment
1:12:19 | Looking back on the experiment do some hate him for it
1:13:41 | The shocking images from Abu Ghraib prison of guards’ torture and abuse of prisoners
1:25:21 | Situation can corrupt almost all of us
1:26:00 | Self-knowledge is the main protection against going to the dark side
1:27:53 | The current state of male masculinity depresses him
1:31:00 | He is sounding the alarm
1:37:24 | What is driving Philip
1:41:38 | What keeps Philip awake at night
1:46:46 | Success secrets
1:47:42 | Best advice ever received
1:49:48 | Advice to the 20-year old watching
1:51:37 | Brian’s summing up.


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