by Marilynn Thomas, Psychology
On Thursday, March 27, we were privileged to have Dr. Philip G. Zimbardo
spend the day with us here on campus. The program included both a morning and an
afternoon presentation in Rennie Forum, as well as an opportunity for faculty
and staff to talk individually with Dr. Zimbardo at a morning coffee hour and
then again at lunch.
||Dr. Philip G. Zimbardo, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Stanford
University, immediate past president of the American Psychological Association,
is also the 1999 winner of the APA’s Division One’s Hilgard Award for
Lifetime Contributions to General Psychology. He is an award-winning
distinguished teacher and writer, and internationally recognized as an
innovative researcher in social psychology. As one of the most popular
professors at Stanford University, Dr. Zimbardo continues to teach large
undergraduate courses in introductory psychology and social psychology.
|Guest speaker Dr. Philip Zimbardo,
Psychology Department Chair Robin Hailstorks, and President Ronald Williams
become the voice and image of psychology through the twenty-six episodes of the
PBS TV series, "Discovering Psychology," which he created, wrote, and
narrated, which is now a staple in most college courses (including PGCC) across
the United States and in ten countries worldwide.
|Dr. Zimbardo’s morning presentation was primarily an open and frank
question and answer session with students, during which he encouraged them to
ask any questions at all about the field of psychology. In response to their
many questions, he sought to explain various behaviors, such as drug use, in
terms of time orientation. Whether people are to the past, the present, or the
future is partially determined by culture and generation, and will affect how
they view and regulate their own behavior. He exhorted the students to consider
entering the field of psychology because, as he explained, we need young women
and young minority students with new perspectives to replace researchers who are
Dr. Philip Zimbardo models one of his gifts.
"The Psychology of Evil" was the afternoon topic, as Dr. Zimbardo
traced the development of the concept of evil from biblical times to the
present, making some interesting connections with the current political and
diplomatic situation in the Middle East. Reviewing some of his early research on
prison role playing and Milgram’s obedience studies, he explained how powerful
the situation can be in determining behavior, causing essentially good people to
engage in outrageously evil behaviors.