In The Lucifer Effect, the award-winning and internationally respected psychologist, Philip Zimbardo, examines how the human mind has the capacity to be infinitely caring or selfish, kind or cruel, creative or destructive. He challenges our conceptions of who we think we are, what we believe we will never do - and how and why almost any of us could be initiated into the ranks of evil doers.
At the same time he describes the safeguards we can put in place to prevent ourselves from corrupting - or being corrupted by - others, and what sets some people apart as heroes and heroines, able to resist powerful pressures to go along with the group, and to refuse to be team players when personal integrity is at stake.
Using the first in-depth analysis of his classic Stanford Prison Experiment, and his personal experiences as an expert witness for one of the Abu Ghraib prison guards, Zimbardo's stimulating and provocative book raises fundamental questions about the nature of good and evil, and how each one of us needs to be vigilant to prevent becoming trapped in the 'Lucifer Effect', no matter what kind of character or morality we believe ourselves to have.
The Lucifer Effect won the William James Book Award in 2008.
Philip Zimbardo is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University and has also taught at Yale, NYU and Columbia. He was elected President of the American Psychological Association in 2002 and is founder of the National Center for the Psychology of Terrorism. Widely respected as an innovative researcher and writer, he presented the award-winning video series Discovering Psychology and his Stanford Prison Experiment has also featured many times on TV. His website www.prisonexperiment.org has received 15 million hits in 4 years, and the one specially set up for this book can be found at: www.LuciferEffect.org