Zimbardo, Philip G.

Alternative names
Birth 1933-03-23

Biographical notes:

Professor of Psychology at Stanfoed (1968- ).

From the description of Philip G. Zimbardo shyness questionnaires, undated. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122500396

Philip Zimbardo, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University since 1968, is internationally recognized as an innovative researcher in many areas of psychology. He has won numerous awards for his distinguished teaching, writing, research, and media productions. Zimbardo has been called the "voice and image of modern psychology" because of his popular PBS-TV series, Discovering Psychology and his best selling text, Psychology and Life (now in its 16th edition). He has been president of the American Psychological Association (2002) and the Western Psychological Association (1983). Zimbardo's undergraduate study was at Brooklyn College where he graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1954 with honors in Psychology and Sociology/Anthropology. His graduate work was completed at Yale University (MS. 1955; Ph.D. 1959). He has taught at Yale Columbia, Barnard College and New York University (1960 - 1976). Zimbardo is a generalist, although his major focus is social psychology. His research spans more than a dozen areas from animal research on curiosity, sexual behavior and drugs, to human research on persuasion, cults, hypnosis, vandalism, violence, time perspective, evil, and madness. He has more than 300 professional publications, including 50 scholarly, text and trade books. His Stanford Prison Experiment conducted in 1971 is a classic demonstration of the power of situational forces to overwhelm ordinary people. Zimbardo's video of that study, Quiet Rage, is a powerful documentary of this unique experiment in which students played the role of prisoners and guards in a simulated prison setting that became quite real and was terminated prematurely. Dr. Zimbardo's most recent book is The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, (2007) *Information for this biographical note was taken from Dr. Zimbardo's home page, (http://www.zimbardo.com/).

From the guide to the Philip Zimbardo papers, 1971-2004, (Center for the History of Psychology)

Philip G. Zimbardo, nationally known for his research on shyness, prisons, and violence, joined the Stanford faculty in the Dept. of Psychology in 1968. He earned his Ph.D. at Yale University in 1959 and taught at New York University and Columbia before coming to Stanford. He has received numerous awards for his teaching and research and served as president of the American Psychological Association in 2002.

From the description of Philip G. Zimbardo papers, 1953-2004. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754863927

Biographical/Historical Sketch

Philip Zimbardo was born on March 23, 1933 in New York City. He attended Brooklyn College where he earned a B.A. in 1954, triple majoring in psychology, sociology and anthropology. He then went on to earn his M.A. in 1955 and his Ph.D. in 1959 from Yale University, both in psychology.

He taught briefly at Yale before becoming a psychology professor at New York University, where he taught until 1967. After a year of teaching at Columbia University, he became a faculty member at Stanford University in 1968.

Philip Zimbardo is perhaps best known for the Stanford Prison Experiment, conducted in the basement of the Stanford University psychology department in 1971. The participants in the study were 24 male college students who were randomly assigned to act either as "guards" or "prisoners" in the mock prison.

The study was initially slated to last two weeks, but had to be terminated after just six days because of the extreme reactions and behaviors of the participants. The guards began displaying cruel and sadistic behavior toward the prisoners, while the prisoners became depressed and hopeless.

Since the famous prison experiment, Zimbardo has continued to conduct research on a variety of topics including shyness, cult behavior and heroism. He has a authored and co-authored numerous books, including some that are widely used in university level psychology courses. Some people may recognize him as the host of the Discovering Psychology video series, which has aired on PBS and is often used in high school and college psychology classes. In 2002, Zimbardo was elected president of the American Psychological Association. After more than 50 years of teaching, Zimbardo retired from Stanford in 2003 but gave his last "Exploring Human Nature" lecture on March 7, 2007.

Today, he continues to work as the director of the organization he founded called the Heroic Imagination Project. The organization promotes research, education and media initiatives designed to inspire ordinary people to act as heroes and agents of social change.

From the guide to the Philip G. Zimbardo papers, 1953-2004, (Dept. of Special Collections & University Archives)


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Prisons
  • Psychologists
  • Conformity
  • Influence (Psychology)
  • Psychology
  • Bashfulness
  • Stanford University--Faculty
  • Authority
  • Psychologists--United States
  • Stanford Prison Experiment
  • Psychology--Study and teaching
  • College teachers--Political activity
  • Authority--Case studies
  • Psychology--Experiments
  • Control (Psychology)
  • History of psychology


  • College teachers


not available for this record