The irony of Zimbardo’s “Lucifer Effect”
A light-hearted look at the psychology of evil
Philip Zimbardo wrote a book entitled The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. The premise of this book is that certain kinds of social situations have the power to turn otherwise good people into evil-doers. He calls this phenomenon “the Lucifer effect”, a name which I consider rather ironic for reasons that will become clear.
Zimbardo has long been an outspoken critic of “dispositionalist” explanations for behavior, which attribute a person’s actions and even their…