Dr. Zimbardo 's Theory Of Evil Essay

Dr. Zimbardo 's Theory Of Evil Essay

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As a population, mankind wants to believe there is a little good in all of us, but there is just as easily a little evil in all of us. No one would know better than Dr. Philip Zimbardo, of the Stanford Prison Experiment. Dr. Zimbardo is an accredited psychologist whose study is one of the most well known today. His main focus in the area of social psychology was on “what turns people bad?” This is also known as the Lucifer Effect. While the Lucifer Effect is known for turning good to evil, Zimbardo argues that it can work in both ways. Good turns to evil, and evil can turn to good. It is within the capacity of the human mind to take the path of evil, the path of inaction, or the path of the hero, but it is up for the person to decide.

In February of 2008, Zimbardo gave a T.E.D. talk concerning the psychology of evil. In this speech, Zimbardo clearly lays out the point that the line between good and evil is constantly shifting, changing, and being crossed. He is quick to lay out that there is no such thing as a bad apple, anyone can turn towards the path of evil given the right circumstances, and even those deemed as “bad” can cross the line in the opposite direction. Zimbardo states that there is both good and evil ever present; it is the Yin and Yang of the human condition. During the talk, He defines evil as the exercise of power to intentionally harm people psychologically, to hurt people physically, and to destroy people mortally or ideas and commit crimes against humanity.

Zimbardo also clarifies the three different ways in which psychologists observe the Lucifer Effect. There is the dispositional model, which looks on the inside. It focuses on what internal factors ended up changing this person’s behavior. Zimbardo called ...


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... also drove home the fact that we should all strive to take the path of the hero. Because the role of the hero is what we all can do and what we all ought to do. If we can all try to take the path of the hero, our society can become a better place.

The reason for the speech was to drive in the fact that we should choose the path of the hero. Not only does he want us to think about it, Zimbardo wants the population to avidly try to take the path less taken. To try and oppose the power of evil systems and advocate for respect and personal dignity, justice, and peace. Zimbardo was trying to say that taking the path of evil might be the easy way, but we should all strive to take the righteous path. If we can stand up to the evil systems that seem so abundant in a world today, there will be fewer chances for someone to fall victim to the situations these systems create.

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