Architect of the Stanford Prison Experiment to Visit campus


By John Rogers /// News Editor


On Friday, Dec. 5, Lewis & Clark will host a major figure in the field of psychology. Dr. Philip Zimbardo, best known as the researcher who devised the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment, will give a guest lecture in Council Chamber at 3 p.m. His lecture will discuss his life leading up to the Stanford Prison Experiment, as well as his new research into heroism.

According to Julian Harris (’16), Head of the Distinguished Visiting Scholar Committee, Dr. Zimbardo is “one of the biggest-ticket speakers the Pamplin Society has brought to campus. [His work on the Stanford Prison Experiment] transcended many of the disciplinary lines of psychology, and had very tangible and wide-reaching applications.”

Dr. Zimbardo did not request compensation for his visit, but a $2,000 donation was made by the Pamplin Society to Zimbardo’s non-profit, the Heroic Imagination Project, as a form of thanks..

Since the Stanford Prison Experiment, Zimbardo has published a plethora of work, including over 50 books, hundreds of articles and book chapters as well as a PBS series. Now, the subject of Zimbardo’s research pivoted from evil to heroism. His main focus is on his non-profit, the Heroic Imagination Project, whose mission statement is “to teach individuals the skills and awareness needed to make effective decisions in challenging situations.”

Securing the visit from Zimbardo was a collaborative effort, that began with the interest of Joel Schooler (’15), president and co-founder of the Psychology Club.

“Since I was a freshman at Lewis & Clark,” he said, “I have wanted Philip Zimbardo to visit our campus.”

Zimbardo is not only a prominent academic, but also influential; Professor of Psychology Bryan Detweiler-Bedell and Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Jerusha Detweiler-Bedell shared Zimbardo as an advisor during their undergraduate time at Stanford University.

Last May, Schooler approached Harris with the idea of bringing Zimbardo to LC. Since then, they’ve worked together to plan every detail of Zimbardo’s stay.

“It’s been a hugely collaborative process and we’ve really relied on each other, as well as members of the Psychology Department and the Pamplin Society for support,” Harris said.

“Dr. Zimbardo’s research is incredibly influential and wide-reaching, and he’s bound to give a riveting lecture. He discusses topics that we can all relate to and understand,” he added.

Dr. Philip Zimbardo will lecture from 3-4:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5 in Council Chamber. 


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