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LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Philip Zimbardo, the internationally recognized emeritus professor of psychology and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Policy, Education, and Research of Terrorism at Stanford University, will lecture on the Bucknell University campus on Tuesday, Oct. 30.

The lecture, titled, "The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good people Turn Evil," will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Trout Auditorium. It is free and open to the public.

Known for his classic work on the abuse of prisoners in the Stanford Prison Experiment, and his current commentary on the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Zimbardo is the 11th speaker in the Spielman Memorial Lecture Series.

Abu Ghraib abuse
Most recently, he has appeared on "60 Minutes" and NPR to discuss the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. His talk, which is based on his new book of the same title, will connect such recent examples of abuse with more than three decades of his research, said Matthew Silberman, professor of sociology and chair of the Spielman Memorial Lecture Committee. || Biography || Official Web site

"One of the major points that we can get out of his research is that it's those who establish those environments, those who administer prisons, for example, who are ultimately responsible for what goes on in those prisons," Silberman said. "And that if there are no clear constraints and restraints upon the behavior of those who are in positions of power, many people will abuse that power."

Zimbardo was a young social psychologist in 1971 when he achieved recognition for his now famous Stanford Prison Experiment conducted in a mock prison in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.

Halted experiment
In that experiment, Zimbardo assigned students to be guards or prisoners. The students quickly began acting out their roles and the experiment had to be halted in less than a week when the student guards became sadistic and brutal, and the student prisoners became stressed. The experiment has since become legendary in the psychology community.

The Spielman Memorial Lectureship at Bucknell was established by the relatives, colleagues, students, and friends of Professor Ralph Spielman in memory of his service to the University from 1958 until his death in 1978. The lectureship emphasizes "Frontiers in Social Science" by bringing to campus at least every second year a lecturer to describe promising attempts to interpret and open new fields in social science.

Contact: Office of Communications

Posted Oct. 4, 2007

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