Philip G. Zimbardo is a psychologist and a professor emeritus at Stanford University, where he taught for 50 years, starting in 1968. He continues to conduct research at Stanford and teach at the former Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, now Palo Alto University. He is also president of the Heroic Imagination Project, which teaches people how to overcome the natural human tendency to watch and wait in moments of crisis.
Zimbardo is probably best known for his 1971 Stanford prison experiment, which demonstrated the power of social situations to influence people’s behavior. He has authored more than 300 professional articles, chapters and books representing his broad and varied interests in topics ranging from exploratory and sexual behavior in rats to persuasion, dissonance, hypnosis, cults, shyness, time perspective, prisons and madness. His books and textbooks for college students include “Psychology and Life,” “The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil” and “The Time Paradox.”
Zimbardo completed his BA with a triple major in psychology, sociology and anthropology at Brooklyn College in 1954. He holds an MS (1955) and PhD (1959) in psychology from Yale University, where he taught from 1959 to 1960. From 1960 to 1967, he was a professor of psychology at New York University. From 1967 to 1968, he taught at Columbia University.
Zimbardo has received numerous awards for his writings, teachings and research, including the Phi Beta Kappa Distinguished Teaching Award for Northern California (1998), the Robert Daniels Teaching Excellence Award, APA Div. 2 , Society for the Teaching of Psychology Award (1999) and an APA Presidential Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Psychology for his “Discovering Psychology” PBS-TV series (1994).