The Lucifer Effect: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Lucifer Effect

1st Edition

By Alexander O’Connor

Macat Library

102 pages

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Paperback: 9781912128556
pub: 2017-07-05
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Description

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.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the text Who was Philip Zimbardo? What does The Lucifer Effect say? Why does The Lucifer Effect matter? Section 1: Influences Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context Module 2: Academic Context Module 3: The Problem Module 4: The Author's Contribution Section 2: Ideas Module 5: Main Ideas  Module 6: Secondary Ideas Module 7: Achievement Module 8: Place in the Author's Work Section 3: Impact  Module 9: The First Responses Module 10: The Evolving Debate Module 11: Impact and Influence Today  Module 12: Where Next? Glossary of Terms People Mentioned in the Text Works Cited

About the Author

Dr Alexander O’Connor did his postgraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received a PhD for work on social and personality psychology.

About the Series

The Macat Library

Great Works for Critical Thinking

Making the ideas of the world’s great thinkers accessible, affordable, and comprehensible to everybody, everywhere. 

With a growing list of over 180 titles across a broad range of subject areas, Macat works with leading academics from the world’s top universities to produce new analyses that focus on the ideas and the impact of the most influential works ever written. By setting them in context – and looking at the influences that shaped their authors, as well as the responses they provoked – Macat encourages readers to look at these classics and game-changers with fresh eyes.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC004000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology