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The Lucifer Effect

Philip Zombardo

The Lucifer Effect

by Philip Zombardo

The Lucifer Effect

Philip Zombardo

5 min
3 key insights
Visual, audio & text

With shocking case studies that outline just how evil people can be, Philip Zombardo's The Lucifer Effect identifies the fine line we all tread between good and evil.

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The Lucifer Effect

by Philip Zombardo

The Lucifer Effect

Philip Zombardo

Overview

According to the Bible, Lucifer was one of God's favorite angels, but when he rebelled, he was punished and sent to Hell. It was there where he became Satan, who personifies all things evil.

Such a story is an example of what is now known as the Lucifer Effect. This is the idea that anyone, even angels, can turn evil under the right circumstances. But stories like this don't just happen in the Bible or in movies. Unfortunately, normal people often do unthinkable things under certain circumstances.

But why does this happen? Renowned psychologist Philip Zimbardo explores this phenomenon in his book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. Using historical examples as well as his own research, Zimbardo explains what seduces people into doing shocking things.

Good, upstanding people can become monsters when confronted with the right combination of situational and group forces working together. Don't lose hope completely though. Even though we're all capable of terrible things, we also have the power to teach ourselves to act heroically instead.

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"The line between good and evil is permeable, and almost anyone can be induced to cross it when pressured by situational forces."

Philip Zombardo

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The Lucifer Effect

Philip Zombardo

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