The Lucifer Effect

Posted on August 16, 2009

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The Lucifer EffectI loved this book so much that I lent it to a friend, something I seldom do.

Zimbardo’s extrapolations from his original Stanford Prison Experiment are much more elucidating than the experiment itself.  The subject is fundamentally interesting in its explanation of how an environment, authority figures and expectation management can effect behaviour every bit as much as any inbuilt predilection and to extents far beyond those that you would consider obvious.

The second half reveals some truly disturbing examples of manipulation that you wouldn’t think possible.  It also goes into a lot of depth around the realities of Abu Ghraib (the trial for which saw Zimbardo called as an expert witness for the defence) and sheds light on the Broken Windows theory too by way of one of the only field trials of the theory that came to prominence under Giuliani as he cleaned up New York in the late 90s. 

This is well worth a read for anyone with an interest in Social Psychology and human behaviour.

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Posted in: Books