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Discusses why people are susceptible to the power of evil, the ability of group dynamics and situational pressures to transform human behavior, the significance of disobedience, and the true nature of heroism.
The definitive firsthand account of the groundbreaking research of Philip Zimbardo—the basis for the award-winning film The Stanford Prison Experiment Renowned social psychologist and creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment Philip Zimbardo explores the mechanisms that make good people do bad things, how moral people can be seduced into acting immorally, and what this says about the line separating good from evil. The Lucifer Effect explains how—and the myriad reasons why—we are all susceptible to the lure of “the dark side.” Drawing on examples from history as well as his own trailblazing research, Zimbardo details how situational forces and group dynamics can work in concert to make monsters out of decent men and women. Here, for the first time and in detail, Zimbardo tells the full story of the Stanford Prison Experiment, the landmark study in which a group of college-student volunteers was randomly divided into “guards” and “inmates” and then placed in a mock prison environment. Within a week the study was abandoned, as ordinary college students were transformed into either brutal, sadistic guards or emotionally broken prisoners. By illuminating the psychological causes behind such disturbing metamorphoses, Zimbardo enables us to better understand a variety of harrowing phenomena, from corporate malfeasance to organized genocide to how once upstanding American soldiers came to abuse and torture Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib. He replaces the long-held notion of the “bad apple” with that of the “bad barrel”—the idea that the social setting and the system contaminate the individual, rather than the other way around. This is a book that dares to hold a mirror up to mankind, showing us that we might not be who we think we are. While forcing us to reexamine what we are capable of doing when caught up in the crucible of behavioral dynamics, though, Zimbardo also offers hope. We are capable of resisting evil, he argues, and can even teach ourselves to act heroically. Like Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem and Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, The Lucifer Effect is a shocking, engrossing study that will change the way we view human behavior. Praise for The Lucifer Effect “The Lucifer Effect will change forever the way you think about why we behave the way we do—and, in particular, about the human potential for evil. This is a disturbing book, but one that has never been more necessary.”—Malcolm Gladwell “An important book . . . All politicians and social commentators . . . should read this.”—The Times (London) “Powerful . . . an extraordinarily valuable addition to the literature of the psychology of violence or ‘evil.’”—The American Prospect “Penetrating . . . Combining a dense but readable and often engrossing exposition of social psychology research with an impassioned moral seriousness, Zimbardo challenges readers to look beyond glib denunciations of evil-doers and ponder our collective responsibility for the world’s ills.”—Publishers Weekly “A sprawling discussion . . . Zimbardo couples a thorough narrative of the Stanford Prison Experiment with an analysis of the social dynamics of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.”—Booklist “Zimbardo bottled evil in a laboratory. The lessons he learned show us our dark nature but also fill us with hope if we heed their counsel. The Lucifer Effect reads like a novel.”—Anthony Pratkanis, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology, University of California From the Hardcover edition.
'The Lucifer Effect' examines how the human mind has the capacity to be infinitely caring or selfish, kind or cruel, creative or destructive, and the ways in which the goodness of humanity can be transformed into bestiality.
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.
In 2011, Philip Zimbardo gave a TED Talk called "The Demise of Guys," which has been viewed by over 1.8 million people. A TED eBook called The Demise of Guys: Why Guys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It followed. The is an expansion of that brief polemic based on Zimbardo's observations, research, and the survey that was completed by over 20,000 viewers of the original TED Talk. The premise here is that we are facing a not-so-brave new world; a world in which young men are getting left behind. In record numbers men are flaming out academically and failing socially and sexually with women. Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Coulombe say that an addiction to video games and online porn have created a generation of shy, socially awkward, emotionally removed, and risk-adverse young men who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school, and employment. Taking a critical look at a problem that is tearing at families and societies everywhere, Man, Interrupted suggests that our young men are suffering from a new form of "arousal addiction," and introduce a bold new plan for getting them back on track. The concluding chapters offer a set of solutions that can be affected by different segments of society: What the government can do What schools can do What parents can do What men can do What women can do What the media can do Filled with telling anecdotes, results of fascinating research, perceptive analysis, and concrete suggestions for change. Man Interrupted is a book for our time. It is a book that informs, challenged, and ultimately inspires.
What makes good people capable of committing bad – even evil – acts? Few psychologists are as well-qualified to answer that question as Philip Zimbardo, a psychology professor who was not only the author of the classic Stanford Prison Experiment – which asked two groups of students to assume the roles of prisoners and guards in a makeshift jail, to dramatic effect – but also an active participant in the trial of a US serviceman who took part in the violent abuse of Iraqi prisoners in the wake of the second Gulf War. Zimbardo’s book The Lucifer Effect is an extended analysis that aims to find solutions to the problem of how good people can commit evil acts. Zimbardo used his problem-solving skills to locate the solution to this question in an understanding of two conditions. Firstly, he writes, situational factors (circumstances and setting) must override dispositional ones, meaning that decent and well-meaning people can behave uncharacteristically when placed in unusual or stressful environments. Secondly, good and evil are not alternatives; they are interchangeable. Most people are capable of being both angels and devils, depending on the circumstances. In making this observation, Zimbardo also built on the work of Stanley Milgram, whose own psychological experiments had shown the impact that authority figures can have on determining the actions of their subordinates. Zimbardo's book is a fine example of the importance of asking productive questions that go beyond the theoretical to consider real-world events.
In this follow up to The Time Paradox, an internationally known psychologist and a PTSD specialist offers a proven approach for those suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder that features techniques that help sufferers focus on a positive future.

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