The Lucifer Effect
The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo
Understanding How Good People Turn Evil
In a compelling story of his own life’s journey, 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.
The title, The Lucifer Effect, refers to the extreme transformative arc from good to evil that God’s favourite angel Lucifer underwent, and provides a context within which to examine lesser human transformations from good to evil. His main point is that while individuals should be held responsible for their own conduct, we must also examine the Situational and Systemic factors that shape individual conduct. We must accept that there aren’t just bad apples, but bad barrels, and in turn bad barrel makers.
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 re-examine 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.
The conclusion of the book proposes to continue to study the power of Situational and Systemic forces that can influence normal individuals to commit evil, inhumane acts, but also with the thought of turning that influence in the direction of heroic, humane behavior.
The Lucifer Effect is a shocking, engrossing study that will change the way we view human behaviour.