Reddit Reddit reviews The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

We found 40 Reddit comments about The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil
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40 Reddit comments about The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil:

u/gattsuru · 56 pointsr/TheMotte

> What, in your opinion, is the psychological experiment that through misreporting and/or failure to replicate has produced the most detrimental misconceptions among the public at large?

IATs are pretty bad, but the Standford Prison Experiment is pretty detestable and it's more into the actually-counterproductive rather than merely superstitious ritual side. Zimbardo presented the experiment as showing how Ordinary People, even the best-natured, given the slightest amount of power would naturally gravitate toward severe abuse. He (or possibly students of his ghostwriting for him) wrote a book, The Lucifer Effect talking about the innately corrupting influences of power.

In reality, Zimbardo coached the 'wardens' and 'guards', presenting them with descriptions of fictional or historical prison abuses and encouraging them to emulate them, in at least one case with the specific stated goal of presenting a display that would encourage prison reform. He repeated framed the guards not as participants in research, but as research assistants, and actively directed at least some of their abusive behaviors, with a full 'orientation day'. He gave them a schedule, and then used parts of that schedule as evidence of abusive behavior. Unlike normal experiments, he paid volunteers only at the end, and limited ability for participants to leave.

He had a press release on the second day of a six-day experiment.

Now, that still shows terrible behavior on the part of the 'guards'. But rather than discover bad acts rooted from mere structure or organically evolved from intragroup interactions -- what Zimbardo calls "situational forces" -- the answer was instead that people would act badly enough when directly commanded for a claimed good purpose. Zimbardo (and Jaffe) planned out a wide variety of abusive behaviors to start with, and encouraged their 'guards' to come up with more. You had people following a sadistic authority, and then only until someone who could challenge that authority (a PhD student Zimbardo later married!) spoke up.

Which is a rather significantly different response when considering Zimbardo went on to act as an expert witness for the defense at Abu Ghraib, and The Lucifer Effect speaks not merely in defense of the abusive prison guards there, but even gives exoneration to their command structure. Zimbardo's version holds that everyone is 'responsible' for producing an environment where prisons exist, which would make even a random selection of normal people turn to evil... and so no one person is really responsible for the individual abuses. It's not hard to think about what behavior this would excuse from civilian authority figures.

u/shastafir · 52 pointsr/politics

This issue has been studied at length. It in fact does have that potential.

u/meldroc · 46 pointsr/writing

Here's the thing. The Nazis were virtually cartoonishly evil, when you look at them from high up, yet they were real.

A lot of it is the motivation of the people doing the dirty work - usually, it was "I'm just doing a job - it's an ugly job, but I'm sure it's necessary." There's some denial "I didn't put people into ovens, I just did the paperwork." And there are a smattering, say about 1-4%, of genuinely machiavellian, sadistic, psychopathic individuals who do behave in ways that are just plain evil, and are fine with it. Often, the organization recognizes how these people behave, and use them, or even promote them.

Some reading that I've found useful:

Phil Zimbardo: The Lucifer Effect - this is the story of the Stanford Prison Experiment from the person who conducted the experiment.
Here's a TED talk from Zimbardo:

Robert Altemeyer: The Authoritarians, free to read here: . It describes a personality type, called the Right-Wing Authoritarian, which scores highly in the personality traits of authoritarian submission (they look to strong father-figures, latch onto one, and will follow him no matter how badly he behaves), authoritarian aggression (they want to make YOU follow their daddy figure,) and conventionalism - they have an idea about how things should go in the world - God, America, apple pie, that sort of thing, and get upset with people who deviate from their conception of how they should act.

Unmasking Administrative Evil, by Adams and Balfour . This one is academic writing, so it gets technical, and is a bit of a challenging read. But it describes how big organizations, such as governments, go bad. The big characteristic is that evil organizations have a way of sucking good people into them to do evil things, and masking their evil (remember, "I didn't put those people in ovens. I just did the paperwork." or "Sure, I guarded those concentration camps, but those people would cause all sorts of mayhem if we let them out.")

Another common thread in organizations and governments that do the really evil shit: dehumanization. Take a look here: . When leaders and governments start referring to enemies, or ethnic groups, or whoever as not just bad, but not even human, that's when behavior gets really fucked up. Look at Rwanda, where a mass genocide was instigated by Radio Rwanda talking heads saying "They're murderers! They're cockroaches!"

u/Tokenwhitemale · 31 pointsr/OperationGrabAss

You don't know how right you are. Zimbardo finally published his thoughts on his Stanford prison experiment a couple years ago. Well worth the read, and it really is striking the similarities between TSA management and policies and the Stanford prison.

u/SsurebreC · 28 pointsr/todayilearned

If you're interested, there are two books that answer your question:

  • Obedience to Authority by Stanley Milgram (More info...), and
  • The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo (More info...)


  • the further you are removed from your victims, the more likely you'll obey unchallenged authority figures to do anything
  • you play the roles you're given, breaking previous social contracts

    You don't have to go far to see modern-day examples. While we can blame ISIS as some far-away, backwards group of people, we have no such excuse for what happened in Abu Ghraib.
u/Kardinality · 9 pointsr/vegan

Been through the same. Got quite depressed because people just couldn't see the harm they were doing, or didn't care. But then someday I wondered why didn't I see the harm I was doing sooner? Why didn't I go vegan years earlier? I could have saved dozens of lives, not to mention taken better care of myself and the planet. So I dove into the currently available literature on human psychology which explained why people are so susceptible to social norms[1], why we so often can't reason ourselves out of a position were in [2] and why it is so difficult to come up with an idea like going vegan on your own [3]. After having read that I still get frustrated from time to time but much less so than first. I feel it's a bit like being angry at the earth shaking every now and then and tearing my house down. There is no one to be angry at, not really. You've just got to build a better house[4].

u/Spelcheque · 8 pointsr/worldnews

Here you go, in case you actually want to understand how normal people can be so easily made into monsters. Or you can choose not to understand such things and probably live a happier life, your call.

u/vitaebella · 6 pointsr/2xCBookClub

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, Phillip Zimbardo

About he famous Stanford Prison Experiment, and how the findings relate to behavior today.

u/ardaitheoir · 6 pointsr/Harmontown

The title of this episode is so clear, Jeff has a very easy time calling it. As Dan comes to realize, his initial race rant kind of doesn't have a point, but it's still interesting.

While they shockingly didn't say "Eat that mike," Spencer's "yeahhh ..." is impeccable.

When Tim Talbot relays how he was able to get a writing job on South Park without a credit or a script, I was struck by the sheer privilege of having that connection to their assistant. It sounds like the sort of thing Dan would talk about on Whiting Wongs; in fact, they do discuss the (apparently) famous writers' retreats, but I can't remember on which episode.

God, the Stanford Prison Experiment is just so fascinating, though. The ramifications extend so far beyond college studies and even prisons -- into any uneven power dynamic or label given to a person. If you want to read Zimbardo's firsthand account, check out The Lucifer Effect.

I haven't watched The Stanford Prison Experiment or Accidental Courtesy, but now I really want to. Daryl Davis also did a TEDx talk. As a white person, I'm at the point where I question the value of this approach in the short term; our priority should probably just be to defeat them politically to start with, and then we can worry about rehabilitation. I guess we can do both, but we can't lose sight of the ground we're in danger of losing.

The discussion about who would be good as a prisoner or a guard is pretty fascinating; of course I assume I would be a humane guard, but I can also be pretty demanding when I'm in charge of things, so there's a streak there that worries me a little. Also, these themes were brought up pretty heavily in this final season of Game of Thrones with the notion of "breaking the wheel."

I really can't believe this is the first time Jeff has told his Hollywood story on Harmontown, but I can't find any evidence to the contrary. Apparently he tells it a little more extensively on an episode of A.D.D. Comedy.

The talk about how people are affected by the roles and labels they're assigned reminded me of an incredible episode of This American Life in which they follow a blind man who appears to have fewer limitations because of the different expectations placed on him as a child. They frame the story with a study in which rats randomly labeled as "smart" perform better in mazes when their handlers are told which rats are "smart." Again, the implications are huge. Entire populations and categories of people are held back by what they are told about themselves.

The word "voluminous" took me to a different place than it was going because of Erin McGathy on Doughboys -- I even misheard the next word at first (to be fair, I had a faucet running).

"I am a guard because I've been given the microphone ... well, I took it -- with a lifetime of talent ..." Jeff suggest this should be the title instead, but it's not as charmingly pithy.

"You named a sad fat guy from your heart." What a moment of Serendipity -- without realizing it, an audience member gives Dan the same nickname as one of the characters in Monster House:  Chowder.

Here's an archived version of the Balls Out script. The Black List podcast reading appears to be for subscribers only.

They merely tease their D&D character creation and the move to Starburns Castle, which keeps the episode length under (about 11 minutes short of two hours -- at least the edited time). At least Spencer got in a few of his brief but inimitable and incomprehensibly hilarious moments, which is sometimes just enough.

u/HR_ButtNStuff · 5 pointsr/politics

Reminds me of the Stanford prison experiment, specifically Philip Zombardo's take on it in The Lucifer Effect. I have to wonder whether they were just being plain ignorant to let her "drugs" wear off, or if they knew she had type 1 diabetes and were just mistaking it for type 2, which is not a disease that one up and dies from overnight (unless they consume enough sugar to be poisonous I guess).

u/BlueAzzure · 5 pointsr/ptsd

You seem to have a balanced perspective between your needs and others capabilities. ;)

Some may think you cynical, but I see pragmatism and clear reality.

>The fact that they don't want to talk about it or apologize tells me that even though my aunt divorced him, they still don't really believe me.

From experience, when there is a sexual predator in a household the spouse denies any knowledge and acts as a cover. Your aunt is probably very guilty for her past complicity in not protecting you. She will flip and flop from believing you to believing what she did was right to believing it was all a flipping out and going shopping.

Until she has it straight in her head and can handle reality she will just scapegoat you as the trouble maker.

Abuse survivors crave and seek reassurance that what happened to them has been recognised and yet the people who knew will run the other way. Never underestimate the levels to which folks will delude themselves to quell cognitive dissonance and escape from the reality that they have been Evil and Wrong.

You may find it helpful to read Philip Zimbardo's book "The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil".

Peer pressure is a big issue, as is authoritarian pressure. They can make angels into devils and they will swear that what they have done could not be wrong because ... angel!

I would hazard a guess that in the past your Grandmother was about and no one wanted her upset, but now she is either dead or reduced markedly in her status, probably in an old folks home?

Shifts in the status of an Alpha Figure can allow change such as divorce to happen easily, and leave many dealing with past complicity in keeping the Alpha Happy at the expense of others.

My betting is you are dealing with many dynamics that always put you out on the edge, and frankly, you have every right to be pissed.

Getting passed the pissed stage often comes with understanding the dynamics and how others have been playing chess with many players. Forgive and forget is often a bully defence and delivered whilst standing on a rug with 10 feet of detritus supposedly hidden under it.

Remember, Understand and Be Vigilant and not be held back is the best motto.

u/stel4 · 5 pointsr/psychology

You're asking both a very simple and very complex question. The reality is that there is no way to accurately explain the cause of cruelty in a reddit post. People have devoted entire books and articles to it.

14 hours after you posted this there are 58 comments in this thread. After reading through the parent posts, I see a number of very good explanations. Feelings of power, rewards, structural brain differences, lack of empathy/anti-social behavior/psychothapy, people were victims themselves, evolutionary reasons, etc. And these are just the first couple of parent threads in your topic.

The point I'm making is there are a LOT of reasons people can become cruel. I'm not saying this to discourage you from asking this question, but to encourage you to read up on some of this research. Phillip Zimbardo (of the Stanford Prison Study [<- 2 links here]) spends much of his current research examining the nature of human cruelty. His most recent book, "The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil" examines this problem.

The reality is that there is no easy answer to your question. People become cruel/do cruel things for any number of reasons. This is a much a philosophical question as it is a psychological and neuropsychological one. That said, if this is an area you're really interested in studying, I'd encourage you to read more of Zimbardo's work (knowing the prison study isn't enough - I'd guess most people in this subreddit are at least somewhat familiar with it. I mean that you should actually read some of his books, as this will give you a much clearer picture of what you want to know).

u/SomeGuy58439 · 4 pointsr/FeMRADebates

> Basically, provide proof that the animal behaves like an animal, because it is treated as such. The closest I can recall to this in play is the Stanford prison experiment. Basically, some students were set up as prison guards, others as inmates, and the whole thing deteriorated to the point of unmanageable in a couple days.

And on related note, I'd recommend the Stanford prison experiment guy's book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. The corresponding website also has a fair bit of useful information - see particularly Resisting Influence and Dehumanization

u/xamomax · 4 pointsr/vegan

I think there are a lot of factors here that make a perfect storm that probably exists in most facilities like this:

My guess is that if someone is personally treated like shit by those around them, and is in a work environment that is already both shitty and cruel, that a person could snap and become a monster. It's kind of like if you have a bad day at school with bullies, come home crying, and you take it out on the dog. Watch the movie Food Inc to get a sense of how many such workers are treated, as I think it shows fairly clearly that such conditions are common.

Next there are issues of authority. (Think Stanford Prison Experiments). Here one is given authority over others, in this case chickens, in shitty conditions and naturally becomes abused. All the more powerful since in this particular case the victims are absolutely considered inferior by most of society, and are already placed into cruel conditions of death and suffering.

Add to that a permissive atmosphere with few and poorly enforced regulations, and a generally permissive public that chooses to turn a blind eye.

Finally, the people working there themselves are likely not the kind of people who meditate on the nature of consciousness and suffering.

I'm sure there are many other factors.

A book I might suggest reading that helps explain a lot of such behaviors is The Lucifer Effect by Dr. Philip Zimbardo. It really can be an eye opener about answering questions about mass murders, prison abuse such as Abu Ghraib, police behavior in the Occupy movement etc.

u/Alhoshka · 3 pointsr/rage
u/knumb · 3 pointsr/books

Maybe The Lucifer Effect, though it might be the opposite of what you are looking for (how good people turn bad as opposed to how bad people turn good).

u/altrocks · 3 pointsr/psychology

Ekman is awesome, as is Gardner. Milgram's Obedience To Authority is pretty good, in my opinion, for someone interested in human emotion and motivation. As is Zimbardo's The Lucifer Effect. Those kind of look into the darker aspects of motivation and conformity.

One of the more positive books I've read is Thoughts Without a Thinker by Mark Epstein. It looks at psychotherapy and general human behavior through the eyes of Buddhism. Oh, Eckman also co-wrote a book with the Dalai Lama on human emotion that you might find interesting.

I wish I had more time to read these days (and more money to spend on books!). Those are the only recommendations I can really give for your interests. Good luck to you!

u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/psychology

That (Baron-Cohen) is good and the obvious choice reading, the Lucifer Effect.

So I'd say lack of empathy + institutional structures that lend to cruelty = cruel behavior

u/Y3ll0wH4mm3r · 2 pointsr/AcademicPsychology

I'd definitely start with a cheap Psych 101 textbook to familiarize yourself with the field, it's history, and the varieties of interest. This will help you form a good idea where I start your personal research and what areas your really enjoy. You may want to try listening to some Psych podcasts. Here's a recent link that may help with that:

The book that made me fall in love with Psychology:

If you have a good idea of what you'd like to learn about, you need to look for Scholarly articles online. Google scholarly data banks and I'm sure you'll find some good stuff.

Hope this helped some. Good luck with your interest. let me know if you have further questions, I'd be happy to help however I can! Psychology is a wonderful thing to study.

u/obsoletist · 2 pointsr/Foodforthought

I think I recommended this book when Dr. Zimbardo did an AMA here awhile back, but he has a great book called The Lucifer Effect for anyone interested in reading about this in (much) more detail, and its broader implications.

u/quik69 · 2 pointsr/AcademicPsychology

If you're into Social Psych:

The Lucifier Effect - Philip Zimbardo

Zimbardo decided to write an update on conclusions of the Stanford Prison Experiment in the wake of the Abu Graib scandal.

Politics and Psychoanalysis:

Leaders and Their Followers in a Dangerous World: The Psychology of Political Behavior (Psychoanalysis and Social Theory) - Jerrold M Post

The Mind of the Terrorist: The Psychology of Terrorism from the IRA to al-Qaeda - Jerrold M. Post

Not really a psychoanalysis guy myself but they may be worth a read if you are into geopolitics as well as Psych.

General Psych:

Opening Skinner's Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century - Lauren Slater

This one may border on the pop side, I'd call it easy reading. It's a narrative that discusses many of the more famous Psych experiments of the 20th century. Definitely a good summer read, Pop or not highly recommended.

u/shaynoodle · 2 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

I have a book on my books WL called The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. It was suggested to me by someone here and it looks really interesting. And it sounds pretty evil!

u/poltergeiststuff · 2 pointsr/TrueReddit

Phillip Zombardo explained this well with the Stanford Experiment gone wrong.

u/khidmike · 2 pointsr/JusticePorn

> I don't have the potential or the want to be either of those things and it's horrible that you think all other people could be just like him.

You/they could, though. Research the Stanford Prison Experiment and Stanley Milgram. Both showed that, given the right set of circumstances, perfectly ordinary people are capable of extraordinary evil.

If you have time, read The Lucifer Effect for a more in-depth explanation of how it works.

u/wegener1880 · 2 pointsr/quityourbullshit

part two

> There are three problems at issue with that source

rebuttal then!

  1. IF you actually read the article, you would see the empirical evidence demonstrates that the results (higher criminal arrest rates for black people) are independent of the empirically measurable qualities of the groups (rates of smoking for marijuana for example).

  2. first of all, society has advanced to the point were specialization of fields is a necessary requirement, which is why we need "mentors" as you might describe is, to inform the rest of us. Society is different from Kants time, where the entire field of science is often knowable by one person which is why people such as Newton contributed successfully to multiple fields of study beyond physics. Second your rebuttal is just innaccurate you can see that it was a much larger group of people than anything you cited and you can see and FIOA request any scientific data sets. It is all publicly available.

  3. Your point was not clear, not only that, it is not the only important BLM and activist in general because it is a subset of police targeting of black communities. Not only that you partially addressed your own point by citing the Harvard study in point 2 showing that there is a racial disparity in homocides. Your point of "cop-on-black deaths are of a negligible frequency in comparison to other crimes" was never a point of contention, and it is only a point that matters to you. BLM isn't only outraged by cop shooting of black men.

    > Oh, sure. However, I'm going to say in a very blasé way, white-on-white crime is not frequent enough to be seen as a problem. You might explain this frequency by pointing out arrest rate disparity, but I would suggest a realist position (by which I, of course, mean right-realism) of being critical of that disparity and being more aligned towards the findings of official figures (which you will probably claim I'm not being critical enough towards).

    The official figures contradict you. Plain and simple, difference in arrest rate have nothing attributable to stereotypically black behaviors, or anything about their communities.

    > The sources you cite here don't seem to really be backing up the claims you're making.First one, sure, high crime areas have higher distrust in police, but that was never in question - the larger question, where we both disagree, is why blacks live in higher crime areas (in which you will likely say discrimination - both in housing allocation, and how spatial [self-]segregation has put blacks in locations with worse provisions etc.).

    Wrong on all of my rebuttals, but my rebuttals aren't the ones that matter what matters is what the data says. You don't get to say "my sources aren't backed up by the data" without critiquing what you find wrong, and expect to get respect.

    The scientist the published the studies cited by those articles did a lot of digging to find the causes. You don't just get to say "i disagree"

    >As for the second link, you follow up "It's the police's fault" with a claim that 911 calls drop after major incidents, but that's an inference I wouldn't be inclined to make. That statement both places the prerogative on police to encourage 911 calls (rather than on civilians), and relies on a rather vague correlation to suggest that people aren't phoning, for example, because they had a bad experience with police. It would have more explanatory power and believability if you were to cite a study that suggested people had a distrust in police, and reasons why. I'm well-aware those studies also exist, but I feel that there is a better argument you could have made with that addition

  4. link one establishes both that distrust in police leads to higher levels of crime and less calling in of 9/11.

  5. link two was an example of how areas that have seen catastrophic incidence with police see a negative response

    You obviously didn't read those links well enough because i addressed you point.

    >We both know how to criticise empirical evidence (and it's far easier than constructing it). Do you really need to see me ask "Are the samples of the cited studies of a sufficient size?", "Are they representative?" etc.?
    > I think it would be more than safe to assume that your "empirical evidence" is predominantly small-scale, qualitative studies - which, as I said from the offset, cannot be generalised. I can say that with some degree of certitude because that's what almost all social science research is nowadays.

    Your failure to dismiss studies without investigating such variables, then criticizing on such variables, isn't my problem.

    self imposed ignorance to back up your unjustified prejudiced attitudes toward these groups isn't my fault. I've given you the sources, your unwillingness to challenge your own ignorance on the subject is only your loss.

    > I have "Humanness and Dehumanization" by Bain, Vaes and Leyens in front of me by now - a book I bought years ago, when I was actually interested in the topic.

    I was personally thinking more phillip zimbardo's lucifer effect which would be
    very informative to you on how your characterizations of these groups are indeed dehumanization and depersonalization (depersonalization and dehumanization occurs with BLM also, as you have pointed out)

    > I could understand your opposition if I used the term "genocide", which has a very different range of definitions, but nothing about "terrorist" suggests that death is a prerequisite for the label, even etymologically.

    It doesn't require death but sit in's don't fit with the common definition of terrorism and
    your personal definition is not accurate because words are defined communally*

u/alexanderwales · 2 pointsr/IAmA

This same request was made two weeks ago; the best reddit could do was to arrange a brief IAMA of the author of The Lucifer Effect (of the e-mailed questions variety). The request before that got no responses.

u/ELKronos · 2 pointsr/askpsychology

I feel in a case like this, it is likely something along the lines of paranoid schizophrenia. Although violence among psychiatric patients is extremely rare, violent tendencies are more common in paranoid schizophrenia.

A recent review (c.f., Silverstein, Pozzo, Roche, Boyle, & Miskimen, 2015) scholars suggested increased violent tendencies may be due to (1) they tend to have psychotic symptoms (hallucinations, delusions, persecutory ideation) which prompt violent responses; (2) it is extremely common in marginalized populations who tend to have histories of violence; (3) there are a number of brain abnormalities thought to influence systems which manage impulsivity (for example, patients with schizophrenia tend to have increased left-hemispheric fast-wave EEG activity, which denotes overarousal).

However, this may only address the reasons why someone like Evans may have been driven to murder. Being driven to murder is likely a blend of situation specific stimuli interacting with one's own behavioral traits. There are a variety of reasons as to why one may be driven to murder, and even a case similar to Evans would not necessarily denote that other hypothetical individuals involved would even have a mental disorder (I only brought this up as his mental state has been battled in court). Even in the previously cited review, there appears to be no clear distinction between crimes by mental patients and those without any sort of diagnosis, so while this crime may not suggest he has any type of diagnosis, it is perhaps parsimonious to suggest that someone in this situation may have brain abnormalities (to say the least).

One could commit murder for a variety of possible reasons. Likely, in any case, there are a slew of psychological and physiological variables which may result in this behavior. In this one instance, it seems like that Evan's condition may largely be to blame. I would like to state that I do not think this justifies Evan's behavior, nor should it necessarily allow him leniency with the law. But the fact of the matter is that because murder can help for a variety of reasons it may be less useful to ask why (because this really only categorizes murders) and more useful to consider where we draw the line as a society, and how our criminal justice system is to be used to respond to these crimes.

Silverstein, S.M., Pozzo, J.D., Roche, M., Boyle, D., & Miskimen, T. (2015). Schizophrenia and violence: Realities and recommendations. Crime Psychology Review, 1, 21-42. doi: 10.1080/23744006.2015.1033154

If this is a topic which really interests you, I would recommend the following two books:

Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty (Baumeister & Beck)

The Lucifer Effect (by the infamous [Stanford Prison study] Philip Zimbardo)

u/undercurrents · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Any book by Mary Roach- her books are hilarious, random, and informative. I like Jon Krakauer's, Sarah Vowell's, and Bill Bryson's books as well.

Some of my favorites that I can think of offhand (as another poster mentioned, I loved Devil in the White City)

No Picnic on Mount Kenya

Guns, Germs, and Steel


The Closing of the Western Mind

What is the What

A Long Way Gone

Alliance of Enemies

The Lucifer Effect

The World Without Us

What the Dog Saw

The God Delusion (you'd probably enjoy Richard Dawkins' other books as well if you like science)

One Down, One Dead

Lust for Life

Lost in Shangri-La


True Story

Havana Nocturne

u/mutilated · 2 pointsr/psychology

Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious by Timothy Wilson is personally one of my favorites
Anything by Malcolm Gladwell (I really enjoyed Blink)
Anything by Robert Cialdini (He was my social psychology professor and one of my favorite authors / public speakers)
Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do (Issues of Our Time) by Claude M. Steele (Who basically uncovered stereotype threat research)
The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Phillip Zimbaro (famous for the Stanford prison experiment)

Older books:
Mindfulness by Ellen Langer (about automatic processes and how mindless we can be)
When Prophecy Fails by Festinger, Riecken, & Schachter (To understand how cults work, a group of researchers infiltrate a join a cult. Mainly about cognitive dissonance but details what happens to a cult when the world doesn't end like predicted)
Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View by Stanley Milgram if you want to know all about the Milgram experiments

Sorry that is all that comes to mind now. . . (edited for formatting)

u/LolaRockabella · 2 pointsr/worldnews

Start with The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo.

Edit: My husband reads these kinds of books for fun, and this is easily his favourite. Well written, concise and in layman's terms for the most part.

u/apmechev · 1 pointr/polandball

I would recommend the book ["the Lucifer effect"] ( to anyone interested in the psychology of evil. It's truly eye opening

u/nathan98000 · 1 pointr/Informme

Agreed. Other historically influential experiments have been distorted through time. After having read The Lucifer Effect, I especially dislike how the Zimbardo experiment is usually framed.

However, I think you overstate the importance of these experiments in actual debates. As the blog post points out, these are anecdotes that are found in introductory textbooks. I trust that more advanced textbooks would be more cautious in their retellings.

I think it's more likely that the reason these stories are oversimplified is because it's easier to fit them into a narrative if you leave out all the caveats. That being said, I'm guessing most Intro Psych professors follow up these discussions with more nuance. They begin with these anecdotes to get the students interested but later talk about the counterarguments.

It's for the same reason debaters will begin a speech with a personal anecdote, dive into actual arguments and statistics, then come back to their original anecdote. Humans can remember information better if that information is part of a coherent narrative. If it helps students learn more about psychology, it might be beneficial to keep the stories as they are, as useful fictions.

u/literal · 1 pointr/AskReddit

For some really interesting studies about the nature of authority, I recommend:

The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo (the one responsible for the Stanford prison experiment)

Obedience to Authority by Stanley Milgram (of the Milgram experiment)

The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer. The book is freely available at his site.

u/SlothMold · 1 pointr/booksuggestions

The Lucifer Effect is about the Stanford Prison Experiment. I stopped reading part way through though - can't remember my exact issue with it, but I think it was a readability thing.

u/MildlyAgitatedBovine · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

For further reading on the Bad Apple/Bad Barrel dichotomy, check out The Lucifer Effect y Phillip Zimbardo wiki, amazon. It largely deals with the Abu Grabe scandal, but also touches on a few instances from Vietnam.

u/hex_m_hell · 1 pointr/ted

Add to that The Lucifer Effect and you have my last few months reading list.

These are some of the most important books I've ever read.

u/JesusListensToSlayer · 1 pointr/AskMen

A lot of people are suggesting self-help books, which isn't a genre I recommend to anyone who is genuinely interested in learning about himself and the world around him. You'll be limited to simple paradigms and formulaic models. The world is not simple and no one really understands it that well, so any book that claims to break it down into a a few categories or a comprehensible graph, must be taken with a grain of salt. You will never see lasting personal growth if you latch on to a pop-psychology formula. Maybe you already know this, I'm mostly reacting to the comments. There is no "one book," but maybe you're just looking for a place to start.

I really like The Lucifer Effect for exploring how some people become evil. This is the guy who did the Stanford Prison Experiment in the 70's.

And since I don't really know what you're looking for, Flow is just awesome for getting motivated to be useful.