I have been primarily interested in how and why ordinary people do unusual things, things that seem alien to their natures. Why do good people sometimes act evil? Why do smart people sometimes do dumb or irrational things?
Time perspective is one of the most powerful influences on all of human behavior. We're trying to show how people become biased to being exclusively past-, present- or future-oriented.
What happens when good people are put into an evil place? Do they triumph or does the situation dominate their past history and morality?
What troubles me is the Internet and the electronic technology revolution. Shyness is fueled in part by so many people spending huge amounts of time alone, isolated on e-mail, in chat rooms, which reduces their face-to-face contact with other people.
Prejudice and discrimination have always been a big part of my life. When I was 6, I got beat up and called dirty Jew boy because they thought I looked Jewish.
The Stanford prison experiment came out of class exercises in which I encouraged students to understand the dynamics of prison life.
Heroes are those who can somehow resist the power of the situation and act out of noble motives, or behave in ways that do not demean others when they easily can.
My early childhood prepared me to be a social psychologist. I grew up in a South Bronx ghetto in a very poor family. From Sicilian origin, I was the first person in my family to complete high school, let alone go to college.
Academic success depends on research and publications.
The line between good and evil is permeable and almost anyone can be induced to cross it when pressured by situational forces.
Being hurt personally triggered a curiosity about how such beliefs are formed.
Careers in virtually all academic disciplines are fostered by being a superstar who knows more about one subject than anyone else in the world.
I started studying shyness in adults in 1972. Shyness operates at so many different levels. Out of that research came the Stanford shyness clinic in 1977.