Philip Zimbardo

Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D. is one of the world’s best-known living psychologists. Renowned for his classic Stanford Prison Experiment (conducted on the university campus in 1971 to investigate the power that social situations have to influence the behavior of ordinary people), Dr. Zimbardo has been a professor at Stanford University since 1968 (Now a professor Emeritus). He has also taught at Yale University, New York University, and Columbia University. Among many other publications, he is the co-author of Psychology and Life and the author of Shyness and The Lucifer Effect, which together have sold millions of copies.


Dr. Zimbardo has performed psychological research in fields as diverse as shyness, prisons, and the perception of time. His most recent research into the nature of heroism. His most recent research into the nature of heroism. From The Iliad and The Odyssey to contemporary blockbuster action movies, the concept of heroism has captivated humans for centuries. The counter balance to Dr. Zimbardo’s Lucifer Effect, which explores how negative circumstances (like those simulated in his famous Stanford Prison Experience) can force people to tolerate and even perpetrate evil, he now aims to understand how to nurture positive acts of courage.


Zimbardo has been president of the American Psychological Association and is now director of the Stanford Center on Interdisciplinary Policy, Education, and Research on Terrorism (CIPERT). He also narrated the award-winning PBS series Discovering Psychology, which he helped create. In 2004, he was an expert witness in the court-martial hearings of one of the American Military Police soldiers accused of abusing prisoners in Abu Ghraib. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Berkeley professor Christina Maslach. 


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Published work

Trade Books by Philip Zimbardo: The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life (Free Press, August 2008); The Lucifer Effect (Random House, March 2007); Shyness: What it Is and What to Do About it (Da Capo Books, January 1990)


Latest News

Professor Philip Zimbardo conveys how our individual perspectives of time affect our work, health and well-being. Time influences who we are as a person, how we view relationships and how we act in the world. View the full video of Professor Philip Zimbardo’s talk at the RSA




Philip Zimbardo (watch his other TEDTalks) introduces the Heroic Imagination Project at TED University 2010. Zimbardo, whose work has studied the depths of human evildoing and the heights of heroism, is passionate about inspiring people to take heroic action. Learn how to practice everyday heroism. Watch the video here.