2011 Shows

When Dr. Philip Zimbardo, author of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, first appeared, he and Dr. Phil examined what makes a good person do bad things. Now, they continue to explore blind obedience to authority and how social influences can have a negative impact on your life. Don’t miss Dr. Zimbardo’s eye-opening experiment on group conformity with teen girls. Would your daughter follow the crowd and bully an innocent victim? And, an ex-gang member speaks out about gang prevention and finding the courage to choose his own path. Plus, learn about Dr. Zimbardo’s Heroic Imagination Project that teaches participants how to become an everyday hero.

Find out what happened on the show.
Replied By: tick20 on Jan 30, 2011, 4:19PM
Yep, and as shown in Le Jeu de la Mort - The Game of Death - a French documentary, 80% of the population will deliver a LETHAL shock to a person when told to by a game show host.  Yes, you read that correctly, a game show host.  The other  20% will refuse.  If it makes you feel better, 20% will at least protest, but they will still fry the other person when told they must continue.
By the way, this was a remake of the Miligram Experiment from Yale where a participant said "While I was a subject in 1964, though I believed that I was hurting someone, I was totally unaware of why I was doing so. Few people ever realize when they are acting according to their own beliefs and when they are meekly submitting to authority"

Replied By: doomsdaydiva on Jan 29, 2011, 6:32PM
I actually feel sorry for the people shown on camera obeying some guy just because he was in uniform. If the same thing happened to me I would be humiliated and furious. I would be thinking God, I must have looked so STUPID to everyone who saw me, and I'm not really stupid but it wouldn't matter what I thought. And it would probably be all over YouTube and if anyone recognized I wouldn't be able to go out in public without be harassed or laughed at, and I've already gone through too much of that. I think these so-called "social experiments", videotaping people without their knowledge is a kind of molestation. In the past I used to be quite naive and trusted people who seemed "nice" at first but then they turned right around and humiliated and betrayed me. People like psychiatrists and therapists and the staff at the many homes for the mentally ill that I was forced in and out of. Now I feel that I can't trust anyone. And I never know who might have a camera to take a picture of me during one of my Asperger-Premenstural-Generalized Anxiety Disorder meltdowns and plaster it all over the Internet and make me an even bigger social failure than I already am.
Replied By: jennysgram on Jan 29, 2011, 5:11PM
In this country, it is generally unacceptable to root for the underdog. We are continuously told to strive to be "the best", to be "the winner"  to be "on top".  You have to be #1 or it just doesn't count.  I think this is what is behind so much of this bullying -- especially where the experiment with the girls is concerned.  So driven to be on top, bullies feel they can accomplish this by pushing other people down or by making sure other people end up by the wayside, ignored; rebuffed.  This will ensure the bullies a better chance of making it to the top.  It's a sad commentary on this society.  I know competition will always be there and that it is a necessary component in this world.  However, I think another necessity is the ability to strive to be your best while at the same time taking into consideration other people's feelings and their right to try as well.         
Replied By: situationist on Jan 29, 2011, 3:16PM
Thanks for bringing back Philip Zimbardo, Dr. Phil. That program was packed with useful information and was exciting to watch. Zimbardo is simply brilliant and you are awesome for having him on. The Lucifer Effect was well worth my effort to read it.  (Zimbardo's other book, The Tiime Paradox is an easier read and I have found is very helpful.)  Dr. Phil, your shows just keep getting better!
Replied By: gldnmjh on Jan 29, 2011, 6:44AM - In reply to boater967
I agree about "Ted overload". Having been raised with alcoholic parents and having an addicted son.... I could clearly see Ted was all talk. I strongly suspect Dr. Phil knew it also. I just hope he sticks to his guns and washes his hands of Ted. Ted doesn't want to get sober, he wants the money so he can get the high. It is so sad when there is someone out there that would probably put this wonderful gift to great use and APPRECIATE it, truly.
Replied By: bishop2 on Jan 28, 2011, 10:31PM

Today's program reinforced the need for us to question all that we do not understand or hope to understand. But what was missing for me was the “exception to the rule principle”. In certain cities, in certain areas and in certain states, questioning authority can get you beaten, tased or jailed. Simply for asking the question whats the charge? Is there a problem? It sometimes pains me when I hear such good advice and realize that for me and those like me. These rules do not apply. “ Absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
Replied By: efffy_ on Jan 28, 2011, 8:51PM
I was raised to question authority. I was taught it is my responsibility and right. My parents told me that respect is earned and never demanded. Of course it made school more difficult because the average teacher wants a class room full of mindless sheep. I had 3 good teachers in all my years in school. What made them good was their ability to see students as individuals.  I never do what I'm told, but I will do as I am asked given a good reason. I have found the people that don't have the time to explain their reasoning are usually intellectually inferior and unable to explain themselves. My life of questioning every thing saved my life once. A snotty nurse was about to stab me with a needle when I asked her what it was. She told me the doctor prescribed it. She riled herself into a righteous snit because I wouldn't let her "do her job." Long story short it wasn't meant for me, and contained something I am allergic to. If I was the type to blithely follow along I could be dead instead of annoying you. I have taught my children the same things. One of my favourite sayings is, " I don't have to nothing."  :D
Replied By: greekgirl1 on Jan 28, 2011, 8:21PM
I listened to the show today. I live in Riverside, CA., which happens to have a fair share of homeless people.  I used to purchase food but would never give money as I did not want them to purchase alcohol or drugs.  Until one chilly evening outside of the post office a homeless person asked me for some spare change and I said there is no such thing, as I was walking to my car, another person brought a blanket from her car to give to the homeless person and I felt so very small.  I went to the store and purchased hot chocolate, bananas, rolls and went looking for the homeless person,  When I finally found her she no longer had her blanket.  I asked where he blanket was and she said someone stole it, I provided the food to her along with $5.00 and left, I called my 24 year old son and told him what had happened and he said mom she sold the blanket!  At that time I decided who am I to dictate what another person should or should not purchase with a gift of money, that is why it is called a gift.  Since this time, which was 3 years ago, I help out when ever I can, to whom ever is in need.  Once there was an episode on Everyone Loves Raymond when Robert borrowed $1,000 and he decided to go to Las Vegas and Raymond and Debra were outraged.  Once you gift money, it is up to that person who received the gift to spend it as they wish, that was the moral, if there was one, of the story.  What if the addiction is the only thing keeping that person alive, or what if that person is so desperate they steel and the incident turns ugly, I also believe my small contribution may also save an ugly incident from occurring.  Who are we to judge, I hope I will never have to know what a homeless person faces, it is a very tough and dangerous life!  Should I find myself in a situation such as this I would hope someone would also treat me with dignity and compassion!
Replied By: drphilfans on Jan 28, 2011, 6:44PM
Dr Phil,

After hearing you and the other doctor preach that our youngsters need to question "reasonable" authority figures for a reason why they are being asked to do something, I wanted to scream.  I am a teacher for a public high school and I have just had "one of those days" with some very disrespectful students, and guess what?  We, as teachers, DO NOT HAVE THE TIME to explain the reasoning behind every single directive we give, but believe me, as professionals, we have reasons for asking students to do as we ask. 

I think we need to get back to teaching our children to respect and comply with authority, not rebel!!  Teachers' jobs are difficult enough as it is!  Yes, there are bad authority figures.  The focus should be on getting them OUT of our society, not teaching our children to rebel!  We have gone so far in the wrong direction! 

As it is, our public schools are becoming a joke (despite the hard work of teachers) because students are being taught to constantly question authority, loudly and disrespectfully.  Dr. Phil said himself that he taught his own children to "yell and scream" and if they were wrong, they would not get into trouble.  Believe me, I've dealt with many, many students who have YELLED AND SCREAMED in my classroom, only to be in the wrong.  This behavior affects the learning environment to say the least (not to mention my health!). 

Like I said, I've had one of those days in the public classroom today, and as hard the job of teaching in the public schools is, the last thing I needed was to come home and hear this message being fed to our children. 
Replied By: brinaingraham on Jan 28, 2011, 4:12PM
I was in a introductory pyschology class a year and half ago where we went into detail about Dr. Zimbardo's prison experiment and how it is possible to be good people but turn evil when we accept the facts in front of us and not question the facts instead of inquiring further.  Let's just say my class went into shock about this and a debate about if it is possible for good people doing evil things when told.  I am glad that someone like Dr. Zimbardo is out there, putting this question out and even doing experiments to prove his theory.  Because of these experiments, we can be more aware of those around us and to make us question those people we think are trustworthy at a glance.
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