Lucifer Effect Paper

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Chloe Chen
Psychology 30: Lucifer Effect Paper
Prepare a 8-10 page book report on the Lucifer Effect. You are to apply what you’ve learned about Social Psychology throughout the paper—please cite your sources properly.
What is the book about and who is the author? Then, give an introduction for the book by giving an overview.
The Lucifer Effect is a book written by Philip Zimbardo, who is a famous psychologist and a professor emeritus of Stanford University. He was also known for the famous Stanford prison experiment that happened in 1971, where he randomly selected a dozen college students to be part of the experiment of a prison situation. This book details the significance of human nature and our ability to be perpetrators of evil. Through the discussions about the horrific abuse from Abu Ghraib, other real life examples, and the famous Stanford experiment from Zimbardo himself, we find the challenges that are within us and who we are to fight against the transformation from good to evil. The Lucifer Effect emphasizes on the ideas that though we as individuals are solely responsible for our actions, there are other forces surrounding us that captures and shapes our behaviors. For example, the Situational and Systemic factors that are part of our surroundings affects our behaviors. As Zimbardo shares with us in one of the TED talks, that we don’t just have bad apples, but we have bad barrels that thus become bad barrel makers. Zimbardo goes on to discuss a series of situations, separated by chapter sections, that exemplifies his beliefs on how we can transform into evil when we are put into a role such as the role of the prison guards or conforming to what other people want, such as in chapter 12 he reviews a research study done on saying the same answers as everyone else just to be “part of the crowd”. Analyzing the experiments, there is more that Zimbardo further explains, such that “the System includes the Situation, but it is more enduring, more widespread, involving extensive networks of people, their expectations, norms, policies, and perhaps, laws” (loc 4277). As Zimbardo finishes his book, he helps us realize that even though the Lucifer Effect focuses on the evil, there is good from within. We can realize that ordinary people are heroes and through our everyday choices and what we do with our surroundings and our actions can dictate our next moves for positivity or negativity.
Why was this book written when there are several articles and book chapters that have already been written?
The Lucifer Effect was written in a unique way that is different than the other articles and book chapters before it. The book goes on to develop a tragedy of our human nature and the transformation of our good to evil. Not only does it speak of the evils from many different examples such as the massacre in Rwanda, and his own Stanford experiment, he ties it to share the psychological messages and other ethics and research findings to present what Zimbardo calls “the evil of inaction” as an evil that is part of those who are perpetrators of evil. He wrote this book in response to what had happened in his own prison experiment and proved that the behaviors of the guards were the result of systemic forces, even though they are still culpable for their own actions. The public presentation of what had happened in Abu Ghraib surfaced in the United States, which then caused Zimbardo to share his complete findings of the Stanford Prison Experiment, so that he can show to others that there is a pattern. If we were given similar circumstances, we as a human race are capable of these horrific acts of terrorism and evil deeds.
What is the basic premise of the Lucifer Effect? Please include details to support your answer.The basic premise of the Lucifer Effect is that even good people do bad things and even though we will say bluntly there are so many things we would never dream or possibly imagine doing, we will if we were put into…