January 18

When Zimbardo was teaching a course on Mind Control, he had an assignment where he asked his students to apply what they had learned to get blacks and women to start smoking. Almost all students came back with detailed explanations, some used their personal experiences, others interviewed black friends for their input, etc. Just to make sure, he told the students that he’d sent their reports to a friend at Philip Morris and they were very interested in hiring a few students over the summer; it’d only be an internship, but who would be interested? Almost everyone’s hand shot up.

Zimbardo was livid. He was going to outright cancel the course until someone talked him out of it. Here were students who had spent months learning the techniques of mind control, with special emphasis on the evils of smoking, with the goal of being able to resist its power, and none of it had any effect! One simple assignment and kids were lining up to kill people.

posted February 14, 2005 12:20 AM (Education) (1 comments) #


Stanford: I Miss Zooko
Stanford: Fuzzier Heads Prevail
Stanford: Artists and Aliens
Stanford: Meeting the Man in Shadow
Stanford: You May Have Already Won
Stanford: Mind Control in Theory and Practice
Malcolm Gladwell on Snap Judgments
Stanford: Stand Up, Sell Out
Stanford: Voyeurism


Why was Zimbardo livid? If he had used mind control to ellicit the response he got from his class, he should be very pleased with his own powers of suggestion.

posted by Alan Dershowitz at February 20, 2005 11:25 AM #

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