The Psychology of Evil


Here’s a link to Philip Zimbardo’s TED talk on the psychology of evil.

And here’s some quotes from that talk:

There are seven social processes that grease the slippery slope of evil:

  1. mindlessly taking the first small step
  2. dehumanization of others
  3. de-individualization of self (anonymity)
  4. diffusion of personal responsibility
  5. blind obedience to authority
  6. uncritical conformity to group norms
  7. passive tolerance of evil through inaction or indifference

“Power without oversight is prescription for abuse”

“They paint themselves like Lord of the Flies… and that’s the power of anonymity.”

“All evil starts with 15 volts.”

That whole TED conference was called “Will Evil Prevail.” There are notes for it if you want to read about the whole thing, and you can find all the talks at the TED site.


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