A.P.A. Convention Highlights
American Psychological Association
123rd Annual Convention - Toronto, Canada
August 6-9, 2015
Asynchronously Live from Toronto
Aaron T. Beck - On Humanism, Therapies, and Schizophrenia | Albert Bandura: Efficacy, Agency, & Moral Disengagement
| Danny Wedding: Psychopathology & Psychotherapy in the Movies | Phil Zimbardo on 'The Stanford Prison Experiment'
This year's annual convention of the American Psychological Association is taking place in Toronto, Ontario (Canada). The weather is on the cool but pleasant side, and downtown Toronto was vibrant as visitors and locals took advantage of summer along the Lakefront, and at some of the various attractions, from Blue Jay games at the Rogers Centre to museums, patio restaurants, sight-seeing, and of course, psychology.
The 123rd Annual Convention officially commenced on Thursday afternoon, with the APA President joined by the Canadian Psychological Association President welcoming everyone to Toronto. As is traditional, some of the highlights of the past year were reviewed, while various challenges were also noted. This year's opening ceremony entertainment was provided by 'Jazz FM91 - Youth Big Band', a group of musically gifted middle and high school students selected for this special program to nurture musical gifts, with master teachers and jazz musicians. The first number was both amazing for the music and for a young woman's extended scat demonstration, which underscored the introduction: these young people are amazing. Following the music, a lifetime achievement award was given to Dr. Jonathan Kellerman, a prolific author - everything from psychology to crime novels and children's books - and pioneer in the psychosocial treatment of children with cancer. Dr. Kellerman was also the invited keynote speaker for this year, and his address underscored how his experiences impacted him personally and professionally.
Even before the official opening ceremony, some other pioneers addressed packed ballrooms full of psychologists and students, in two back-to-back discussions with legends, with moderator and discussant, Dr. Frank Farley. Two of the best known pioneers of psychology were on hand (via Skype and live video/audio feeds), beginning with 'the world's greatest psychiatrist/psychologist', Dr. Aaron T. Beck, who has just turned 94.
These are my notes and 'asynchronously live' reports from the Toronto Convention Centre. The offerings are diverse and many, and most are not recorded or transcribed. Thus, as in the past many years, I've chosen some great events to see first-hand, at the expense of not being able to see two or three other excellent symposia or plenary sessions at the same time, with 1000's of presentations packed into 4 days, with 1000s of psychologists converging. Reflecting my own interests as well as respecting the importance of some historically profound psychologists who I fully expect to further enlighten and inspire many of us this week. Here are some of the luminaries in their areas of expertise, who I was fortunate to experience, both presentations and interactive discussions. Legends and pioneers.
Conversation with Dr. Aaron T. Beck: 6 Aug 2015, APA Convention (Toronto)
Today at the Toronto Convention Centre, a huge ballroom was standing room only, as psychologists and students gathered to see and hear the legendary Aaron T. Beck. Dr. Beck is regarded as one of the most powerful influences in psychiatry/psychology and is is widely seen as the 'father of cognitive therapy'. Famed for his trail-blazing work in the assessment and treatment of depression, recently he has extended his treatment to some of the most difficult-to-treat populations, adopting and modifying treatment techniques which have proven successful in the treatment of schizophrenia. Beck -- see the report from 2014 where he expands on this -- sees value in many 'brands' of cognitively-based treatments, such as DBT and ACT. He encourages the use of an expanded tool kit of techniques. Both a pragmatist and a dedicated scientist-practitioner, Beck continues to push into new frontiers and exudes excitement and optimism about each new advance or revelation. That said, as context - here is today's discussion with Aaron T. Beck.
Dr. Farley said hello to the audience and to Dr Beck. Beck thanked everyone for coming, and apologized that he could not attend in person, adding that he's always enjoyed doing, but he assured the audience that he hears the moderator and audience well, thanks to technology, and he was able to easily distinguish things like applause or laughter. With that the audience applauded loudly, mixed with some laughter as well, to which Beck responded, 'Great!'.
Frank Farley introduced Beck as a legend and a pioneer who some consider 'the Freud of our times'. He then
asked Beck if it's true he has recently turned 94. With a big grin, Beck replied, "that's right! I just made it.". [Applause]
Cognitive Therapy and Schizophrenia
Beck, who last year described feeling quite energized about this new direction in treating schizophrenia , was asked if he might update us on his recent work in treating schizophrenia with cognitive therapy, and if this might actually be a preferred treatment modality in the future.
Aaron T. Beck:
This is the story... I really feel I may be delusional but I think we have a new breakthrough with chronic, regressed, low-functioning individuals with schizophrenia. So, way back when I first heard about mental illness, I heard things like 'lunatic', 'asylums', 'insane', 'crazy', and so on. And to my mind patients with this disorder were just a whole different species, as it were. They were individuals who were so far out of it that you wouldn't be able to communicate with them. They were 'obviously incurable' and so on. And then during my psychiatric fellowship I was assigned to an individual with chronic schizophrenia...So I figured I'm assigned, I don't know what I'm going to do with him. But anyhow I formed a relationship with him, talked about his delusions, And in the course of time he got better! And actually, the delusion went away. This was so unusual at the time that my chief asked me to write it up, and so I published it, I think it was in the Journal of Psychiatry, in 1952. [Beck, A.T. Successful outpatient psychotherapy of a chronic schizophrenic with a delusion based on borrowed guilt. Psychiatry. 1952; 15: 305-312]
And that was the end of my flirtation with schizophrenia until the year 2000, when I was at a conference in Britain and I came across a poster session at this conference ['57 Patients with schizophrenia treated successfully'] I went wow! Because at that time it was still believed - and probably still is today - that the only way you can treat these individuals is with medication. But wow, here was a treatment, a psycho-social treatment, cognitive therapy, that was supposedly effective. And so I tracked these 2 individuals down - names were Kingdon and Turkington. And I then decided that schizophrenia - the treatment of schizophrenia, is really the treatment of the future, because if you can treat these very sick individuals with cognitive therapy, or any type of psychosocial interventions, then you could probably treat anybody.
However, the problem we came across was that while relatively mild/moderate functioning individuals were responsive, the people who were low functioning, who had a large amount of negative symptoms, simply were not very responsive. And at that particular time...I teamed up with Paul Grant, who at that time was a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, and we embarked on a long-term study - first finding out 'what are the are the negative attitudes, the dysfunctional attitudes, that these individuals have?'. Because we took the notion that this was not a biological disorder but was kind of a psycho-social-biological problem, and if you could knock off the psycho-social aspect of psycho-social problems that this might influence the biological problems.
Well, to our surprise we found that when we developed a treatment that was focused on the negative symptoms, on the very low functioning patients, that they started to get better! And so, we did a clinical trial. This time it was with low-functioning outpatients. And we found, to our pleasure, that these patients, these low-functioning patients, started to get better. Just working on their cognitions and their behavior and their affect, they started to get better. And when they started to function better, then the delusions and hallucinations started to recede into the background.
We published the study and at this point we were contacted by one of the states that was under a Federal mandate to improve mental services. We started to work in these hospitals, and we developed a particular strategy that I'd like to share with you. And we got really good results! So... when we went into a hospital we'd say, 'Send us your worst patients. We want to see absolutely the worst patients that you have', for 2 reasons: One was that if we saw one of the patients who was not as sick as the others, the therapists would say, 'this does not represent my patients'. So we'd say, well OK, so let's see your sickest patient. And then the second thing was, if we could successfully treat the sicker patients, then it would be comparatively easy to be able to improve the status of the less sick patients.
So, we worked in the various hospitals in the state of Georgia, and up to now we collected data on 350 patients.
And since data does count for something, we tried to find out just what happened to these individuals after 6 months of supervised training and treatment. Actually, we're training therapists to do the therapy. And after 6 months of supervised training and treatment 75% of the 350 patients got better.
And how do you assess 'getting better'? So, there are a number of behavioral indices which have been set up by NIMH, for adaptive improvement. This includes such things as being out of the hospital, clearly, making new friends, getting a job, living independently, going to school, and so on - all behavioral indices of improvement. And indeed, out of the 350 something like 25 of them, within 6 months, had full-time paid jobs. Now, I want to describe a little bit more about the patient population. I don't know how many of you have worked in state hospitals, but by in large the average length of stay is 10 years, and the people who are ten-year people are going to stay there for the rest of their lives - unless they step down to an equivalent, community-like, community service. But basically they're going to remain static for about 10 years, so just moving them along at all was quite [an] achievement. And so now we have moved into the state hospitals, in Pennsylvania.
A humanist-existential approach
So the question is, 'how do we do it?'. Well, first of all, to come up with what might be a shocking statement, which is that...
...the delusions and hallucinations are simply a camouflage. But underneath the delusions and hallucinations which everybody focuses on - professionals are always asking 'are you hearing voices today?' or 'do you still believe that you're God today?' - but if you address them as normal human beings, you can activate the normal part of the personality. And as you activate the normal personality, they start to look normal. They start to feel normal. They start to act normal. And so, [our treatment] was a kind of normative method.
Case studies: Engagement and Schizophrenia
So first we had to engage the patients. There was one chap, for example, who had been a basketball player, but he sits in his room all day long and he talks to the 'green people'. And these are actually voices that he communicates with. And it's very hard, very hard for the therapist to break through. But eventually, by talking about basketball, and then bringing in little basketball games, she was able to gradually get him engaged. And then lastly she reached the point with him where he was willing to take a walk with her while she was dribbling a basketball, and she managed to get him to go over to the court and then she started shooting baskets. And now he started talking for the first time and he said, 'you know, you're not doing that right. Let me show you how to do it.' So he started shooting baskets. And then the other patients in the gym see him shooting baskets and they want to play too. So the other people come up and first thing you know, he's getting into a game. And at this point he's crossed the line. He no longer is talking to the green people but he starts talking to real people.
So this is what I mean by engagement - finding something that's meaningful to the patient. But of course it varies from one individual to another.
[Beck describes an even more regressed patient, with delusions of being God and 'master of the universe', a patient who is aggressive and prone to primitive behavior, smearing her walls with feces, fighting with staff, etc. She is on 24-hour one-to-one watch.]
So what do you do with a patient like that? [Asking her name yielded a flood of grandiosity, about being God, having created the whole world, etc. It may seem a big deterrent, Beck noted, in trying to connect, this level of entrenched delusion and aggression.] What do you do with a 'master of the universe'? .... So the therapist asked our standard question, and this is the breakthrough question: 'What is good about being master of the universe? What is good about being God?' And she says, 'well, if you're God you can help people.' So there's a clue.... What else is good about being God? 'Well, you can connect with people.' [And what else?] She says 'well, if you're God you get respect'. Now you might have thought that if you're God that people are going to worship you, you can do miracles, you can move the world around. But no:
These patients have the same basic needs that you and I and everyone else has, which is the need to belong, the need to be respected, the need to have individuality.
And so the therapist then, says 'I see from the record that you were once a school teacher. Would you like to do something for the other patients where you can help them [get their high school equivalency diploma]? And she says no, she's not interested in that. But then we find out that she is interested in cooking. So when she goes into the kitchen she starts to appear ... normal. Her face, her expression ... She starts to do normal things and she's quite happy. The first thing she did was bake some cakes. The next thing, she distributes cakes to the rest of the patients. The next thing after that is she makes a souffle, which she also distributes to the patients. Well, then the patients say, 'we'd like you to teach us all of these cooking things that you have'. And she says O.K.
And now she assumes the role of a teacher. She is back to the previous normal mode.
And as long as she is teaching them how to make all of these different concoctions, she is appearing very normal.
And the final thing that we just learned the other day, they are now forming a cooking club. And so, as time goes on, she's getting better and better. She's no longer smearing feces and she no longer needs continuous surveillance. And she's going to be discharged from the hospital.
And we do the same thing with other patients, finding out what it is that they really want, allowing them the initiative to be able to teach other people what they're doing... And then what's happened is they started forming clubs, and so we have a gardening club - people go outside. We have a computer club, and have a crochet club, that some of our own staff is participating in - we'll see if we can get the rest of the staff into all of that - and we have a travel club, where they talk about travel. The whole thing now is that not only are the patients activated into doing things they like, but that the personnel are also involved, so that big sense of inequality and inferiority that they have is now being erased, and that they are now beginning to feel equal to the other members of the staff.
So that gives you an idea as to where we're at. We have a lot more to talk about... maybe at a future date I'll tell you more about this.
But what I do hope is that all of you in the audience who haven't chosen your career paths will think of posts in public mental health as a way to go. Because there's no other field where you're going to be able to do so much good for so many people, and people who are at the very bottom of the ladder in terms of social deprivation and disadvantage. And you're going to bring them up to where they're going to be able to behave and feel and act like other human beings.
Qu: Thank you very much Dr. Beck for your poignant reflection on this new perspective in treating schizophrenic clients.... My question is: First of all, coming from an existential/humanistic standpoint ... I find what you say extremely existential/humanistic. You're tuning into the client's perspective, what really matters to them, how they would like to live their lives ... and you're treating them, as you put it, like normal human beings. Which to me sounds very similar to the kind of work which R.D. Lang and his associates drew from in their 'safe houses', where they lived, in with clients, and it was basically about being with the clients and validating who they are as people, and not getting all caught up in pathologizing them.
My question is: (1) Are you becoming an existential/humanist? And (2) If not so much, how does this reflect your cognitive-behavioral work?
A: "That's a very good question. And actually the name of this division is the humanistic division. And I often title my talk as the 'The humanistic approach to schizophrenia'. So, basically my answer to your question is: yes, yes, and yes.
However, we do have a whole collection of methods which can achieve the humanistic goal, so part of it is behavioral, coaching, role playing, etc. You don't want to lose sight of various valuable strategies. But the goal is humanistic. And your attitude toward the patient has to be - in fact we don't even use the word 'patient'. We call them individuals. So we de-pathologize the entire approach here, but we use whatever is available in order to achieve the humanistic goal.
Qu: I work with schizophrenia. What you're describing sounds a bit like 'the recovery movement'. I'd point out that the U.S. is really lagging, behind Scandinavia, for example. More focus on the psycho-social.
A: It seems to me that people who have an open mind who are working towards the same goal often find that they're using the same approach, because the clinical approach is one which is humanistic. [Dr. Beck recommended a list-serv and a forthcoming book of his titled 'Recovery Oriented Cognitive Therapy for Low Functioning Patients.']
Qu: Can you elaborate more on your observations about the '3rd wave' therapies?
A: You don't start by saying, 'I'm going to use xyz....' What are the patient's beliefs? If the cognitive processes are distorted, it will be seen in their behavior. Cognizant also of the 'interaction between genetics and life experience', it is not necessarily a simple matter of picking a diagnosis from a 'ready-made-map' so much as understanding the individual's situation. Then one may be set to make the decision:
"What strategy is best for this particular patient at this particular time?"
"Also, draw on your skills. Emphasize the person's values."
Beck may utilize any of several techniques or strategies - but all drawing from similar 'brands' such as DBT, and treatments which offer "validation, and also soothing."
"Mindfulness is something which is ubiquitous."
Qu: Can you share some advice to a new clinician?
A: First, keep an open mind. "Don't be blinded by your professors' frame of reference.... Get yourself trained in the various modalities....Don't work a technique to death." In the day, "I used to tape all my sessions to find out what I was doing wrong."
"Don't ever give up on a particular patient." You have to 'take an attitude' whereby you are focused on working together towards making some progress.
Qu: Can you address the role of beliefs, vis-a-vis culture? [Speaker works with Native Americans.]
A: ~ By being culturally sensitive, you're going to be more successful at understanding the person and their beliefs.
Qu: Are any diagnoses more amenable to'3rd Wave' approaches?
A: With a presentation of borderline personality features, for example, it may be important at the beginning to use a DBT approach. In working with schizophrenia, hallucinations, etc., which get in the way, it may be best to get back to 'standard cognitive therapies'.
Qu: Isn't the DSM particularly prone towards pathologizing?
A: You need to look at a person's 'problem'.
Dr. Beck offered a short case history, describing an 'over-controlling mother' (towards her daughter). Her daughter is 3, and does not talk. 'What should I do?' In this case, rather than demanding speech of the child and trying to figure out what's wrong, Beck's intervention was to suggest that the mother 'do the opposite of what you are doing now'. No diagnosis or pathology discussion, only the behaviors and beliefs.
'I am always energized by Q&A'
Qu: Where do you see technology going?
A: "Technology has been useful" Beck replied. He cited the work of Josh White, in developing a 'therapist's assistant', and applications in the area of 'hostility & violence". But, "you can boil it down to people getting trapped in a self-defeating attitude." He mentioned his book, Prisoners of Hate, where he describes the effects of demonizing the other, and acting on self-defeating beliefs. You can hear him address this dynamic in more detail HERE - http://www.fenichel.com/hate.shtml
Qu: I'm a school psychologist; what might schools do to alter these cycles or attitudes
A:Support 'social-emotional skills' among our youth.
[END of notes >>>>>>BANDURA
[Many attendance were thrilled to see Bandura keep his promise a few years back to join a discussion with Frank Farley. He has indeed come back to an APA convention, with a new look at how, perhaps, those with high self-esteem but low behavior are empowered by agency, and also moral disengagement.]
Albert Bandura: Moral Disengagement
Albert Bandura, Ph.D.
Dr. Albert Bandura was introduced by Frank Farley, who aside from listing some of the stellar highlights of Bandura's famed career (such as the Bobo Doll experiments), noted that Bandura is cited as the top scholar in psychology year after year (based on citations, awards, etc.). #1.
Following the warm introduction, Bandura (on interactive big-screen) noted with pleasure that both he and Dr. Farley happen to be Canadians, from Alberta. Must be something about the Edmonton area, conjectured Dr. Farley, being prone towards turning out APA presidents... And now he turned it over to Dr. Bandura, who was invited to share his own story, and introduce himself and his work to the audience.
Bandura joked that we in the U.S. don't know so much about 'Canadian-American' products, and he thinks he knows why: "because we don't have a unique cuisine." Nobody seeks out American-Canadian cuisine. Food for thought? [A few inside jokes were shared about moonshine & porridge.]
Bandura now greeted the audience, via big-screen: 'happy to be with you from amidst the balmy palms of Stanford'. With many students and early-career psychologists in the audience, he introduced himself to this audience by way of describing his early life influences.
"I grew up in a small town... population 400, My parents migrated from Eastern Europe, my father from Poland and my mother from the Ukraine. My father worked laying the Trans Canada track, railroad. When he got enough money he purchased a homestead... which was forested, a lot of boulders... so all these beautiful plains you see [Photo onscreen] were forest at the time. They had tough job. They had to cut down the trees and remove the stumps and the boulders. They had to create their own homes, they had to build their own churches and their schools, and their towns, and they had to set up the roads. So essentially they were really constructing an entire new society and community.
The place was woefully short of educational resources. We had grades 1 thru 12 housed in the same school. We had several teachers teaching the entire high school curriculum and they were not necessarily well acquainted with the subject matter... and then I had to take a number of courses outside of the community there...
But they placed a very high value on education. At one point my mother sat me down and she said 'Albert, you you have to decide what you want to do with your life.' And I said 'I have a hockey game in about 1/2 an hour' and she said 'Not today'. She said 'well, you could stay here, you could till the soil and then you can play pool and drink yourself to oblivion in the beer parlor, or you might try to get an education.' And given the kind of neutral options she gave me, I decided that education might be the better alternative.
Bandura's Theory of Theories & Theorists
Many theorists exempt themselves from their theory.
For example, the dispositionalists - such as the Freudians:
They claim that our behavior is governed by unconscious complexes and impulses over which we have little or no control, but they pretty much exempt psychoanalysts from these demonic intrapsychic motivators.
The situationalists, for example the Skinnerians, claim that human behavior is shaped and controlled by environmental forces. But then he urged his followers to adopt the operant procedures and change the world.
So if they were good Skinnerians they were essentially agents, agents of change.
The post-modernists argue authoritatively that there is no one correct view.
And then currently we have the physical eliminationists who claim that our
behavior really is controlled by our neural networks. We have no awareness of them nor do we exercise any conscious control
over them. But then they do not claim that their articles and their books are written by automatic writing , by the unconscious ....
My own theory is very consistent with my life path. I'm a proponent of
an agentic theory that assumes that people exercise some measure of control over the paths their lives take.
In this theory I have essentially 4 core features of agency.
The first two really are concerned with projecting your agency into the future through intentions, through goals,
through other cognitive means...
essentially acknowledges that people are capable of regulating their own behavior and then by adopting standards and then linking their performances and efforts to fulfill those standards.
And the fourth one - which is probably the most unique of core features isself-reflectiveness.
We are not only self-regulators, but we also reflect on our capabilities, our thoughts, our actions, and we regulate our behavior accordingly.
And the notion of agency corresponds very closely to my own life map.
The 4 Core Features of Agency:
- Intentionality: Projecting into future - intentions, goals
My theory also recognizes that there's a fortuitous character in life. Namely, often our marital relationships, our occupational choices, and other choices, are often determined by the most trivial of circumstances.
My friend was late getting to the golf course and so we were bumped to a later time. There were 2 women ahead of us. They were slowing down and we were speeding up. Before long we became a jolly good foursome, And I met my wife-to-be in a sand trap...
Bandura, as he put it, has come to acknowledge "the role of chads in life paths". [Note: Chads are the perforated paper circles on a ballot card which need to be cleanly removed to cast a valid vote, as opposed to a 'hanging chad', with this process famously highlighted in the case of a U.S. Presidential election.] Bandura said he is "trying to bring some science to bear on 'fortuitous events'. " [Story about Hell's Angels] Thus he is also looking at context, or as he put it, 'attributes and environmental impact'. And 'chance'.
Continuing with the chad metaphor, Bandura notes that while chance plays some role, one can develop interests and competencies, so one can take advantage of fortuitous situations. [ Malcolm Gladwell's 'Blink' similarly describes how great successes may follow the confluence of particular abilities with the situation - time, place, etc. ] There are times, however, 'when preparation trumps fortuitousness'.
[Cites Groucho Marx]
Dr. Farley noted that by many measures, including prolific publication, Bandura 'tops the list of great psychologists in history', and noted that once again Bandura is extending his paradigm through a new book, in which he extends the notion of 'agency' into 'moral agency'. The book, and concept, are named as Moral Disengagement. 'Do you want to tell us a bit about this new book?'
"It's a book that extends the theory of agency to 'moral agency', which really hasn't received much attention in our field but it's fundamental. And it
addresses the moral dimension of life...
Now most of our theories of morality focus on the acquisition of standards and moral reasoning. And that's only half the story and the less interesting half. The assumption in these theories is that if you have the moral standards and reasoning, moral conduct will follow.
What it fails to do is to address the huge self-regulatory gap between moral standards and reasoning, and moral action. And these have to do with the way in which morality regulates behavior.
Our behavior is regulated by essentially 3 sets of sanctions."
Bandura described how we may consider 'legal sanctions vs. social sanctions', and described as the 'most important' factor, 'self-standards re: right and wrong': "This is the locus of our control that addresses the regulation of morality."
Bandura pondered the question, similar to Zimbardo's focus (on why good people can do bad things), and he noticed a contradiction. The challenge for him was to reconcile how it is that some people do harm, do bad things, but maintain self-regard. Co-existing with aspects of agency and efficacy, there are also influences which reinforce this maintenance of self-regard. There is the world of 'entertainment' and systemic reinforcers such as 'moral disengagement in the gun industry'. And there is the influence of the 'corporate world'. Such is the inertia in institutions which might promote moral engagement, when you have a Congress who seem adamant in their devotion to 'defeat anything which can't be defanged' or to 'strip regulators of their budget' if you can't 'deregulate the regulators' [or dismantle existing law piecemeal]. With this system in place, it is easy to 'neutralize any Congressional initiatives'. Meanwhile, with capital punishment still widely accepted, we model 'society killing people'. And we grow detached from normal moral engagement in the context of terrorism/counter-terrorism. Examples include the justifications of torture by the Bush administration, and the willingness to assist in the process and legitimizing of torture protocols.
Bandura cited the recently-released Hoffman Report also, which asserts that some within APA 'demurred regarding ethics: Do No Harm'. But 'essentially psychology ended up doing it' as the organization 'invented a dual system', in the aftermath of 9/11, where many felt the 'moral obligation to defend the nation' more than any discomfort about bending or going around ethical guidelines. Says Bandura, about the events happening around him today, notably the strong and unified demands to clarify roles and avoid contributing to individual harm, "We need to return to core ethics; now is our chance". He urged attendees to voice this sentiment; in fact there was a near-unanimous resolution by APA's council the next day, which is being widely discussed at this very moment, amid all the diverse reactions and suggestions. For organizational efficacy/agency, we must be able to make the assertion that we (as an entity and as individuals) have integrity.>
[Back to his new book: Each chapter is a mini-sized book. Chapter 8 is 100 pages on changes which we need to make for a sustainable environmental future.]
Returning to society and the world beyond the conference, Bandura said that the most urgent problem being seen today, beyond personal 'moral disengagement' is environmental disengagement. "Sustainability requires actions, not disengagement". The threats are real, and known. The rising sea level will eventually be disastrous. For example, "Florida, which is really a marsh, is going to be underwater too." Meanwhile we live in our 'refrigerated homes'. Bandura went into this in depth, he said, in one of his many long chapters of his new book. He said there are 3 things we need to do:
- We Have to Replace Fossil Fuels with Sustainable Ones.
- Address Excessive Consumption
- Address Population Growth: 'Our planet simply cannot sustain the growth'
'We can't keep digging and burning the hydrocarbons of yesterday.'
Still, some trends may be 'good news', said Bandura:
- Sustainable energy prices have dropped to near equal levels (for hyrdocarbon vs. sustainable fuels)
- Population growth - It is soaring, at current fertility rates, soon to reach 9 to 10 Billion people and we can't sustain that. For example Africa will double. India will surpass China and double its population in 7 years.
- Excessive consumption - "This is a tough one" we're making no progress at all - developing countries feel 'we have a right. You had a century!'
- Advances in Technology/Consumerism
Bandura described how he has been focused on a theory of modeling, since back in the days of 'Bobo gone Global', referring to his seminal 'social learning' study of children's aggression towards a Bobo Doll.
Other social phenomena reflect modeling [and moral disengagement] such as is seen in the selling of girls within the sex trades. Here, within our own locus of control, "Educating women is the best contraception."
In terms of global application, "it's all in Chapter 8, on environmental sustainability."And here, Dr. Bandura paused and took questions from the audience.
Q & A
QU: I'm a peace psychologist. We just formed a Blue Ribbon Panel [to tighten ethics constraints] but how might we effectively change the structure?
A: Yes, the Hoffman report was 'discouraging', along with a response which seems in part 'a semi-denial'. I figure they would have learned by now.
QU: Is this a situation reflecting a few players' 'moral disengagement'?
A: The moral disengagement was systemic, not just a few rogues.... there was ample 'nonsense': .... We seem to exude "an advanced stage of myopia". How could you miss all this?
QU: I'm from Pakistan, a place with much violence as you know. I produce the county's first reality-TV show. My question is, can media impact a transformative process?
Yes, but it is being used in many ways, including being used to recruit terrorists. A main message of my book on moral disengagement is to be mindful of "the tremendous power of humanization" Part of the tapestry of media and engagement or disengagement includes the story of the My Lai Massacre (of civilians in Vietnam). Today wars are impersonal. World War I involved 'trench wars' where soldiers 'humanized themselves' and this was reflected in the media. Humanizing: "the best way to promote a sense of common humanity....Humanization is the antidote."
QU: (Follow-up from Pakistan TV producer) In Pakistan, until recently we had 1 television channel, and now we have 89...
[Summarized self-efficacy, noted that 'reality TV' has 'many viewers.]
"You have to maintain hope. You also have to be a realist... You need help to turn hope into an effective shovel of change."
Nearing the end of the session, Bandura noted how 'the best questions are from advanced High School students.' He shared his amusement at a recent query from a student who furtively wrote: 'Only you can answer this question: Are you still alive?'
Dr. Farley, after the audience laughter subsided, asked if it is true that Bandura has recently turned 90? Yes it is.
Bandura traced his years in psychology, from his focus on self-efficacy to agency, and now to 'moral agency'. He noted how some of his colleagues have worked with Joan Baez to promote peace, whereas he has just begun writing yet another book:
"Writing a book takes control of your life. And you know, at age 90..." Maybe, Dr. Bandura will write an atypically 'short book'. This last book was one where he was trying to 'fill gaps' in prior writings. This most recent book too was meant to be short, but one chapter alone ended up at 75 pages and others are huge too - although a few (like a chapter about 9/11) are 'little ones'.
In any case, Bandura is still going strong, and as he noted, "It's not the number of miles you've traveled; it's the amount of tread you have left."
I have been familiar with the work and vibrancy of Danny Wedding for many years, but never seen him solo, like this, all the more enjoyable with a huge crowd on hand to hear him talk about his interest in films, both personally and academically. This was a treat. Who doesn't like the movies? Here's Dr. Danny Wedding, asynchronously live from Toronto, 6 August 2015
Danny Wedding: Movies and Mental Illness
Using Movies to Understand Psychopathology
Danny Wedding, Ph.D., MPH
To a cheering welcome befitting a movie star, Dr. Danny Wedding was introduced by APA Past-President Frank Farley:
"Danny got his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at University of Hawai'i, a post-doc in behavioral medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2 Fulbright Scholarships, in Thailand and South Korea, the first psychologist selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow, APA Congressional Science Fellow... Author or co-author of a dozen books, most notably Current Psychotherapies which some of you probably have read, or are using in classes... the definitive book on contemporary psychotherapy, and he's got two books about the movies. He's the past-President of 3 Divisions of APA (Divisions 12, 46, and 52), and he's here today with Karen Harrington, his beautiful wife of 2 years, so please welcome Danny Wedding" [applause]
"Thank you Frank, I appreciate it, I'm delighted with the turnout ...
I'm so glad you're here, I hope this is fun. I want you to enjoy it.
I like talking about movies. I've got lots of clips so I'm going to move quickly.
I am now living in Antigua. I managed to wrap up my career on a Caribbean island,
it's very cool, I started my career teaching medical students [and it is a wonderful way to wrap up 35 years as a professor]. I'll probably be there for a couple of more years and then hang up my spurs...
But the nice thing about writing about movies is I can do this for the rest of my life. And
every 3 or 4 years we've got to update our book, because new movies come out.
This is the first edition of the book. ["Movies and Mental Illness", Hogrefe]
This is the kind of research you do after you get tenure... [Laughter]
I retired from the University of Missouri and they would never have given me tenure had I been doing this kind of stuff.
Who's on the cover?
[Audience: Jack Nicholson!]
And the movie?
[Audience: As Good as it Gets!]
We had to pay Jack Nicholson $300 to use his image on the cover!...
Who's that? Russell Crowe, A Beautiful Mind, $1000...
And so for the 3rd edition we paid a depressed teenager $15 to look bad [image onscreen, silhouette of teen looking sad - audience laughter]
And that's the 4th edition. We've just been delighted with the reception the book has received. We had a lot of fun doing it.
It's an excuse to watch lots of movies. Like many of you I'm neurotic and compulsive and guilt-ridden and I can't just watch a movie for fun.
I feel like I have to be accomplishing something, so I take notes.
Psychologists do that.
....And for me one of the nice byproducts has been a chance to speak around the world... as a result of the book. And because it was successful Hogrefe
asked us to do a second book, on Positive Psychology at the Movies, I just came out with a second edition ....
So movies and mental illness ties into the DSM 5 and the
the positive psychology ties into the work of Seligman and Chris Peterson....
You're probably aware of this model of virtues and character strengths.
Character Strengths and Virtues
But what I really want to talk about is the way that our attitudes about mental illness are shaped by films.
[Onscreen: Image from 'Gone with the Wind']
I saw this movie when I was about 13 and I spent the rest of my life waiting for an opportunity to say,
'Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn'.
Some of the happiest days of my life have been in movie theaters and I expect the same is true for many of you.
I'm a big Hitchcock film fan. He was a very psychologically minded director.
And he's got this great quote: [Onscreen]
'Drama is simply life with the dull parts cut out.'
I think films oftentimes contribute to stigma.
And I think you agree. It comes from the Greek word...
[Onscreen: Freddie Kruger]
We think about people like Freddy Kruger as being a product of mental illness, his behavior relating to mental illness. His mother was a nun who is trapped in a hospital and raped by 1000 men. Somebody wrote on a website [Onscreen image]:
'Freddie is the offspring of a 1,000 maniacs'
... and that was written by somebody who knows almost nothing about mental illness and even less about reproductive biology. [Laughter]
That's what mental illness looks like. [Onscreen image of wholesome-looking couple and their 4 young children]
And who is that? Andrea Yates, yeah, and she killed those beautiful children. So it's not Freddie Kruegers that we need to deal with. We need to help people like Andrea Yates.
Movies like The Shining (1980) suggest that there's an association between mental illness and violence. And this is the most predominant theme you get in films. It's a pernicious and hurtful theme that comes up again and again.
We're going to talk a lot about Jack Nicholson today. He's a pretty amazing actor.
You will remember the scene which was improvised [Clip onscreen]:
'Here's Johnny!' (The Shining, 1980)
So the message is that people become mentally ill and become dangerous, they become axe murderers - literally axe murderers in this case - and they threaten their children....
You remember 'Silence of the Lambs'? When this movie came out I was so pleased to discover that Hannibal Lecter was a psychiatrist - I would have hated if he were a psychologist! [laughter].
But people get their ideas about psychotherapy and what we do from movies like this. I don't think they believe that we're cannibals but they probably think we're sometimes unethical.
This is a scene you'll remember: (Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs): 'A census taker once tried to test me but I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti')
Agent Starling is clearly upset. Anthony Hopkins improvised that line. It wasn't in the script, the hissing.
So there's movies like Henry and Maniac...
I'm very honored to have Otto Wahl here today. I've followed his work for years, he just told me he followed mine...Thank you for coming.
These are some points that Otto made a few years ago and they come from his book Media Madness:
Dangerousness and Mental Illness
Some people with mental illness are dangerous
The vast majority are neither violent nor dangerous
Violence, when it does occur, is seldom directed at strangers
The insanity defense has not resulted in the release of large numbers of dangerous individuals into the community
The portrayal of mental illness in the media is highly inaccurate
And the reality is, of course, that the vast majority of people with mental illness are not dangerous. Some people probably are, but
the film and the movies that we see would suggest that it's commonplace.
Films as Teaching Tools
Sometimes films can educate the public.
I think As Good as it Gets taught a lot of people about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and what it looks like, and so films can be very positive. I think Rain Man educated a lot of people about autism, Temple Grandin, in a more recent film...
Dominant Themes in Movies
There's some themes I'd like to share with you and I'd like you to watch these when you see movies in the future:
Myths and Movie Themes
One theme that you see oftentimes in films, is the myth of traumatic etiology. It's a ubiquitous myth.
And you see this in films like The Fisher King (1991). This is a movie that I loved - I'm a big Robin Williams fan and I'm still saddened by his death. But I think that films like The Fisher King get it wrong. If you remember the movie he suffers from PTSD and yet he develops the symptoms of schizophrenia in the film.
Trauma is a terrible thing but it doesn't produce schizophrenia-like symptoms. [Clip from The Fisher King] You don't develop that type of vivid visual hallucination as the result of a traumatic experience.
Another theme that comes up again and again, repeatedly in films, is this idea of a schizophrenogenic mother - usually the mother, sometimes a father. I think that's really unfortunate and we should be way past that by now. A film that I think illustrates that very nicely is
Shine - if you remember, about the life of David Helfgott. Many of you have seen it. It's one of the rare films that shows a schizophrenogenic father.
[Onscreen: Clip from Shine, 1996 - "A wonderful film marred by the presentation of a schizophrenogenic father" - A violent scene with enraged father]
Clearly a bad father.
Another movie you may want to watch for is Julian Donkey-Boy. Some of you may have seen it, I suspect. In the movie, Werner Herzog plays the father and he's very abusive to his son, and of course his son becomes mentally ill.
[Onscreen slides: The Myth of Mental Illness - Eccentricity - Perspective]
One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest (1975)
Yet another myth is this idea that 'mental illness isn't real'. It kind of ties into the work of Thomas Szasz and R.D. Laing and some people like that. The idea is that people with mental illness are just 'harmless eccentrics'. They're kind of like you and me but they've got more personality perhaps.
And I think that you see this most clearly in the classic film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
One of the great joys in my life at this point in my career is introducing young students to these amazing movies that helped shape my career and my thinking and my life, but they haven't seen them.
And when they see a movie like One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest, they always were happy, and always pleased to be introduced to this film. I think that probably everyone in this room has seen this movie.
It won the 5 big Academy Awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and so forth.
It's interesting. If you look at the American Film Institute's list of top heroes and villains, Nurse Ratchet comes in at #5. Right up there with Norman Bates and Darth Vader and Hannibal Lecter.
I think the film is a bit unfair to nursing.
[Clip with Nicholson's character defending his statutory rape by saying 'But Doc, I was 15 years old going on 35 and she told me she was 18...between you and me.']
[Several great clips from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - with Dr. Martini et al]
Myth #4 - Love alone is sufficient to conquer mental illness
Another myth that you see in films is an idea that if mental illness is terrible but if you're only loved enough or if love comes into your life that love can solve your mental illness. And the pernicious corollary to this is that if somebody doesn't get better it's because they're not loved enough or because their spouse has failed them or their parents have failed them. And you see this in movies like Benny & Joon.
Benny and Joon (1993)
[Clip: 'Hiring housekeepers is not your forte']
"That film has nothing to do with mental illness, but I like it!" It pays homage to Buster Keaton."
Overall, on a psychology and film history level, it is noteworthy film.
Moving to specific disorders being portrayed...
There was 2012's Silver Linings Playbook, which addressed bipolar disorder.
[Clip: Meds discussion - 'We haven't even finished the salad yet' - 'you have poor social skills']
Myth #5: Schizophrenia vs. Dissociative Identity Disorder ('Split Personality').
" Another myth that comes up a lot: This is a very sophisticated audience, and so you know the difference between schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder -
but the general public doesn't and so you see lots of films that conflate the two or suggest that people with schizophrenia have dissociative identity disorder.
[Onscreen Clip: Me, Myself & Irene Clip (2000) - 'Just a stupid thing, I have to take a pill every 6 hours or I feel funny, no big deal' 'so Charlie is a schizo']
Frank just pointed out that Jim Carey is a Canadian...
But wait, he's a 'schizo'. It's an ugly word and people laugh at seeing this character kicked and tazed. There are very few areas where we would laugh if we saw another minority treated in that way.
I'm not going to show you a lot of this [but] it's a great film, Scent of a Woman , Al Pacino is magnificent...
[Clip: "I'm not bad, no, I'm rotten." "You're not bad, you're just a pain." "What do you know about pain, you little snail dart..." "Just give me the gun, Colonel" ]
MOVIES AS PEDAGOGICAL TOOLS
So sometimes I think that a film can be used for pedagagical purposes, so I'll have my students watch this film and then ask them if they would try to take the gun away.
And I will tell them to come in with the warning signs of suicide, and it's pretty easy to make a list and see why the Colonel is at high risk.
[Onscreen: Image of Mr. Jones : "A classic illustration of bipolar disorder"]
I'm especially interested in the portrayal of bipolar disorder in films. We've got lots and lots of films, in every chapter of the Movies and Mental Illness book, and so we talk about all these at some length... I wish we had more time today to talk about them."
Sample of educational films illustrating bipolar disorder:
- Lust for Life (1956)
- Francis (1982)
- Cobb (1994)
- Blue Sky (1994)
- Mr Jones (1993)
- Running with Scissors (2006)
- Michael Clayton (2007)
- Melancholia (2011)
- Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
- Infinitely Polar Bear (2014)
"If you haven't seen Mr. Jones with Richard Geer, it's a powerful film.... [suggestive that therapists are unethical] Richard Geer has an affair with his psychiatrist and people see movies like that and think that, well, we probably have affairs with our patients, that that's what therapists do.
If you haven't seen Kirk Douglas in Lust for Life, a film about the life of Van Gogh, you really should, and the film suggests that Van Gogh probably had bipolar disorder.
[Clip: 'these colors give me an extraordinary exultation.... lemon yellow, sulphur yellow ... what a country it is .... I have no doubts, no limitations, I'm working like a steam engine...']
[Onscreen some additional recommendations for Mood Disorders: The Bell Jar (1979), The Hairdresser's Husband (1992), The Hospital (1971), The Last Picture Show (1971), Mishima (1985), Ordinary People (1980), Umberto D (1952), A Woman Under the Influence (1974), Sylvia (2003), Helen (2009), Prozac Nation (2001), The Hours (2002), Revolutionary Road (2008), Melancholia (2011), A Single Man (2009), It's Kind of a Funny Story(2010]
A powerful film. I recommend it highly.
You see [onscreen] Michael Clayton , another nice example of what bipolar disorder looks like.
[Clip: Michael Clayton (2007) "If it's real the pill won't kill it... you are a manic-depressive." "I am Shiva the god of death."]
So there's lots and lots of movies that have dealt with bipolar disorder..[and some are coming out this year that I think are very powerful....
I loved A Woman under the Influence (1974), recommend it highly... House of Sand and Fog if you haven't seen it, is an amazing movie. Jennifer Connolly's affect is just perfect; I show it to students sometimes to show what depressed affect looks like. I think she's wonderful in her role.
I loved The Hours and think it's just a magnificent movie and the life of Virginia Woolf is worth our students' learning about.
[Clip: Virginia Woolf's suicide note portrayed: "I feel certain I am going mad again. I feel we can't go thru another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. I begin to here voices and can't concentrate."]
And of course, she commits suicide, and it's a great loss to the world.
[Clip in film of speculation at the time about her diagnosis as 'manic-depressive' and her use or not of lithium.]
So oftentimes on CD's there's commentary about the film, and if the film's about mental illness you can learn a lot just by listening to the commentary.
I wish we had time to talk about the assocation between
Mental Illness and Creativity. I think it's one of the most fascinating areas in psychology right now. It's a hotly debated topic.
You can't give a talk about mental illness and movies without talking about Psycho (1960).
Norman Bates is a classic. This is one of the best known scenes in film history:
[The first few seconds of Psycho's infamous 'shower scene' onscreen]
You know what comes next. [laughter]
Vivien Leigh [from Psycho] was supposed to be the keynote speaker at a conference in Houston, on movies and mental illness. It turned out [due to a film and contract obligation] at the last minute she pulled out, and I got to sub for her. That was great fun.
[Onscreen: Other Possibilities for Dissociative Disorders - Agnes of God (1985), Paris, Texas (1984), PPersona (1966), Primal Fear (1996), The Return of Martin Guerre (1982), Sommersby (1993), Spellbound (1945), Suddenly Last Summer (1959), Secret Window (2004)]
When I lecture on Personality Disorders, to medical students and clinical psychology students, I frequently show clips from Fatal Attraction . Glenn Close read about Borderline Personality Disorder in preparation for her role - and if you go through the criteria in DSM5, she fits every one. It's a great teaching film.
[Onscreen slide - Marsha Linehan, known for her pioneering treatment approach, DBT: "People with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement."]
Marsha's a friend of mine and I really respect the work that she's done with Borderline Personality Disorder.
Here's just a bit of Fatal Attraction:
[Onscreen quote from Close's character: "It's not going to stop. It's gonna go on and on until you face up to your responsibilities....I just want to be part of your life....What am I supposed to do? You don't answer my calls, you change your number..."]
Great great teaching film. I'm actually very grateful to this movie because it came out at a time in my life when I was toying with the idea of having an affair. (laughter) I decided not to. (laughter)
[Onscreen - Additional Possibilities for Personality Disorders: The Accidental Tourist (1988), Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972), The Caine Mutiny (1954), The Grifters (1990), The Odd Couple (1986), Remains of the Day (1994), Silence of the Lambs (1991), Sunset Boulevard (1950) ]
There are lots of films about substance abuse. [We won't talk about them now, due to time]. I once gave a talk at a conference, a medical meeting... I was talking to a bunch of surgeons, there were about 200 surgeons in the room.
I'd just asked a rhetorical question, 'What do we have up here?' and somebody in the back row mumbled 'breakfast'. [laughter]
Lots of films about substance use disorders. If your students don't get a chance to go to an AA meeting and experience what that's like in person they can watch films and get a good sense for what it's like.
Of course lots of movies trivialize the problem of alcoholism [E.g., Arthur ]. There are literally 100's of films that deal with alcoholism and how alcoholism and drug addiction affect relationships. I thought When a Man Loves a Woman was a powerful film....
[ Onscreen short-list of Alcoholism-themed films: Arthur (1981), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), Drunks (1997), Ironweed (1987), Trees Lounge (1996), Flight (2012), Smashed (2012) ]
Requiem for a Dream , have you seen it? An amazing movie, highly recommend it.
Lots of films that deal with the paraphilias...Blue Velvet is a terrific film - If you haven't seen some of these films, I recommend them to you as a psychologist, I think you'll be interested. Pulp Fiction - Lots of pathology; Pedophilia, Lolita (1962) ['technically not pedophilia'] .... Crash, I thought was a pretty remarkable movie.
[Onscreen - Drug Abuse in Films: Clean and Sober (1988), Drugstore Cowboy (1989), I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can (1982), The People vs. Larry Flint (1996), Pulp Fiction (1994), The Seven Percent Solution (1976), Sweet Nothings (1996), Trainspotting (1996), Requiem for a Dream (2000) ]
I'm not going to talk about most of these, but let me talk for schizophrenia for just a little bit.
One of my major professors was Raymond Cattell. One of Frank's major professors was Hans Eysenck [both pioneers in personality theory] and sometimes we'd debate which was the better psychologist. (He always gets it wrong!) But I was taking a class from Ray when he got this letter and he gave it to me...
[Onscreen: cryptic diagram, symbols and the phrase, 'the word of power' - a word salad in iambic pentameter]
I thought The Soloist was a good film, based on a true story.
[Onscreen: 'The Soloist (2009) seriously examines the challenges of living with a disease like schizophrenia. It is based on the true life story of Nathaniel Ayers']
Peter Winter's character in Clean, Shaven [Canada, 1995] is very powerful. Sometimes people ask me 'what's the best film to illustrate what it's like to be coping with a disease like schizophrenia?' ... and I recommend Clean, Shaven. It's a very powerful film.
Onscreen, quote from Peter Winter's character in Clean, Shaven: "They put a receiver in the back of my head and a transmitter in my finger."
These are some older films....I'll get to more recent films...
An Angel at My Table 1990 is based on a true story and it's, I think, really very powerful: [Clip: 'I've got schizophrenia.... a gradual deterioration of the mind with no cure']
Imagine what a diagnosis like that must feel like.
Girl Interrupted is a powerful film, if you haven't seen it.
I loved A Beautiful Mind when it came out, thought it was well done, but Ron Howard gets some things wrong. People with paranoid schizophrenia typically don't have vivid visual hallucinations, they have auditory hallucinations. But he took some artistic license and I thought did so very, very skillfully.
Lots of films deal with schizophrenia. We talk about all of them in the book.
[Onscreen - Other Possibilities for Schizophrenia & and Delusional Disorders: An Angel at My Table (1990), Benny and Joon (1993), David and Lisa (1963), Dressed to Kill (1980), The Fisher King (1991), The Madness of King George (1994), Shine (1996), Sophie's Choice (1932), Sweetie (1989), K-PAX (2002) ]
Mental Retardation and Autism
I loved Rain Man, Dustin Hoffman was terrific. The film was based on the life of Kim Peek, and Dustin Hoffman went and spent three weeks with Kim Peek, a man with autism, learning about his mannerisms and habits. (I got to have lunch with Kim Peek a few years ago and he was really a fascinating character.)
[Slide Onscreen: 'Hoffman's performance introduced millions of people to the concept of autism as a specific illness distinct from mental retardation.']
Sling Blade (1996) - a very powerful movie. It presents some ethical dilemmas that I think our students can grapple with and I think that's healthy.
[OnScreen Suggestions: Awakenings (1990), Iris (2001), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Lorenzo's Oil (1992), Regarding Henry (1993), The Notebook (2004), Away From Her (2006), Amour (2012), Still Alice (2014)]
Wonderful films about neurological, neuropsychological problems...
If you haven't seen Still Alice, you really should. It's a movie very similar to Iris, similar to On Golden Pond or Amour  - an amazing movie.
Lots of films that deal with violence.
I love introducing my students to A Clockwork Orange and the way that behavior therapy was conceptualized. I was trained as a behavior therapist, and I don't know, I never did any of this! (laughter)
[Screen shot of Alex is being 'reprogrammed', strapped into electroshock machine in Clockwork Orange: 'Bound up in a strait-jacket...Then they clamped like lid-locks on me eyes...']
O. K. We don't do that. But psychologists come away looking very bad in the movie and very unethical.
I'm interested in the way that we're portrayed in films.
[On Screen: 'Recurring Motifs' in how therapists are portrayed:
'Learned and Authoritative' (Psycho) - Arrogant and Ineffectual (The Exorcist, What About Bob?) - Seductive and Unethical (Mr. Jones, Tin Cup) - Dangerous and Omniscient (Silence of the Lambs, Dressed to Kill) - Kindly and Well Intentioned (Ordinary People, Good Will Hunting) ]
You'll recognize a lot of those characters, a lot of those movies. Good Will Hunting was terrific. Robin Williams was so good as a psychologist. If you look at that scene where he's choking Matt Damon, and you freeze it, and then you blow it up, and you look at the title of books, they all deal with transactional analysis. I'm probably the only person in the world who's ever done that.
(laughter) So there are some motifs that come up again and again and you see them usually in comedies, like Analyze That.
[Onscreen - Analyze That: "Discuss it! ... I'm getting a $*@?! headache here. What are you trying to say? ... He's a criminal? This is news? For that you need a doctor degree?"] (laughter)
Remember What about Bob - It's the
only film I know of that's exclusively about transference and countertransference. [Clip, with Bill Murray can't leave his therapist's 'vacation' - 'I'm totally paralyzed...all locked up']
[Clip: Tin Cup, 1996] - We see a psychologist acting unethically ['What kind of doctor did you say you were?' 'Human frailty, well that's my life work']
Of course they wind up sleeping together.
Lots of Woody Allen films deal with therapy. [Onscreen: Clip from Deconstructing Harry  - 'You sick, sick &$%! Having an affair with one of my patients, huh?!']
Prince of Tides - Interesting ethical dilemma presented, so I talk to my students about that. [Slide: In Prince of Tides (1991), Barbara Streisand plays a psychiatrist who has an affair with the brother of her patient.]
Don't have time to talk to you about media.
In the book we try to rate with 5 psi symbols, the relevance of films.
Anything with 5 psis is worth your time, worth seeing; if it just gets one, don't bother.
I edit the journal PsycCRITIQUES, APA's journal of book and film reviews.
And we have a film review every week. That was a practice that E.G. Boring started when he founded the journal back in the 50's. And so I brought it back and so we see lots of movies and have those reviewed and you might enjoy that.
I got Dean Simonton to recently review 'Life Itself' and if you haven't seen it you should - a powerful film.
I want you to know about PsycCritiques - there's a blog that goes with it:
Be Sure to See:
There are lots of recent films that are worth seeing. [Onscreen: Amour, Melancholia, Cake, Love and Mercy] These are some that I've liked:
I'm a big Lars von Trier fan [Melancholia]. Cake is a nice illustration of depression.
Go see Love & Mercy [song/life of Beach Boy Brian Wilson]. Paul Giamatti is magnificent playing the role of psychologist Gene Landy (who lost his license to practice in California)... See Welcome to Me. Infinite Polar Bear is worth seeing - here's a short clip. ['How am I supposed to have my own life when you won't let me do anything?']
Here's a film you should know about [just released this week or soon, depending where you live] The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015)
[Clip: 'Would you rather be a guard or a prisoner?' 'Remember, just as you are watching the prisoners my graduate staff and I will be watching you.' 'All right gentlemen, we gonna have ourselves a lot of fun.' 'OK, is it just me or are these guys taking this thing a bit too seriously?' 'Make up your bunk, 8602!' 'Let me out of here!' 'I had no idea it would turn out this way.']
[Fortuitously, the just released Stanford Prison Experiment was screened and then discussed with Phil Zimbardo the very next day at the conference. Clearly of great interest to psychology professionals and fans, though a bit different as it depicts/recreates an actual psychology experiment, and illustrates some powerful social psychology dynamics. Tomorrow Zimbardo will speak as to how accurate the details are and address the larger concepts and how they were depicted in the movie. See below.]
So I've arranged to get Phil Zimbardo to review the film for PsycCritiques ... I'll also have another review too, to balance it out!
This has been fun, I really enjoyed it. Thank you! [Onscreen: That's All, Folks!]
Phil Zimbardo and The Stanford Prison Experiment
Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D.
Dr. Phil Zimbardo, the legendary social psychologist who was the first to study 'shyness' in depth - and then went on to address the much different behavior seen in his famed 'Stanford Prison Experiment' - addressed the large audience which had just seen a screening of his newly-released movie about the prison study. Whereas last year Zimbardo began his presentation to the sound-track of 'Evil Ways' and spoke about the famed study and the imminent making of a film about it, today he showed up wearing his prison-guard sunglasses, and spoke with the many who had gathered to see the film and to now hear from the man himself, about his real-life experience as 'prison superintendent' and psychologist, and on his perspective regarding the movie depiction.
"I'm going to talk a little bit about what I liked about it - the movie - what I don't like about it, and then we'll open it to Q & A.
This movie has been 44 years in the making....
There have been many scripts, many directors, many actors who wanted to do this movie, and we've had many companies take options. And none of it worked. They wanted to over-dramatize it, they wanted the movie to be about Leonardo di Caprio in one version... The script writer for Usual Suspects, who's won an Oscar, wrote a script which was terrible. And so I had given up.
And then about 13 years ago, a producer from a little company in L.A., Coup d'Etats Films, said I want to make this film, I'm dedicated to it.... And then what he did was, he signed as a consultant a script writer, Tim Talbott. And fortunately for me, it was at the time I was writing The Lucifer Effect
So as I was writing each chapter about the prison study within The Lucifer Effect book, I would send it to Tim Talbott. So in fact the original script was several hundred pages. A script for a movie has to be 30 to 40 pages.
So essentially all of the dialogue between prisoners and guards is accurate. Because in Lucifer Effect, what I did was I went back and looked at all the video, We had 12 hours of videos, and I made typescripts of them because I realized I had never written a book about the prison study... I wrote a few articles and put it to sleep... I started doing research on China, I started doing research on time perspective, I still am...
But I never wrote a book about it.
And then I was involved in defending one of the guards, one of the American guards, at Abu Ghraib.
And I realized Abu Ghraib was The Prison Study on steroids. No question about it. Everything in Abu Ghraib had been mimicked from the Prison study. Putting bags over prisoners' heads. Stripping them naked, sexually abusing them, etc.
And so, I said
let me go back and revisit that whole study and see what really happened, because, you know, there's memory distortion...
And then... instead of writing it as a memoir, this old thing, I wrote it in first person, present tense, because that's what the script is about.
So when John Wayne says to 416, 'you know what I'm going to do with those sausages, boy, if you don't eat them?' No sir, what're you going to do? ....
It's in my brain, and so I said 'that's what's going to make The Lucifer Effect interesting'. So again, almost all of this dialogue between prisoner and guard is accurate, it's from the prison study.
I was a consultant on the movie. I spent a couple of days on set with Billie Crudup and his people, playing his staff.
All the prisoner and guard shots were done in 2 intense weeks, in a studio in Burbank.
Now the other thing they did to make this movie so effective: They sent a whole production crew down to the basement of Jordan Hall, which is in the Psych Department where the study was done.
They made videos, they made measurements.
So in fact every detail of that basement is reproduced to the last millimeter. So it's identical. So when I'm on the set looking at the monitor of the original study and looking at the video of the current thing, I couldn't tell the difference. The only change was, they made the set so they could lift the roof off and have a camera go down, as you saw in some scenes, or the back of the cells ... they they wanted to show what was happening, cell by cell. But other than that it's identical.
Even this subtle thing: There was only a single door going in and out of the prison, and
the Stanford psych department technician, in order to bolster the door he put a piece of wood this way, this way, that way. Which if you look at it, it was a 'Z'.
It was not meant to be a Z, but it was, and they have that in the movie.
So all of that was accurate.
What's not accurate?
Some of the things - they didn't have the money... This is a low-budget film. Two million bucks is not a lot... there were 24 actors, 24 young actors... people playing the role of parents, etc. etc. So it's a big , big cast. No money for uniforms...
Everybody's dressed in 1971 garb.
Everybody's got 1971 hair.
In those day everybody had hair.
There were some changes ... many scenes were cut. They actually shot 2 hours and three quarters. They had to eliminate 45 minutes. It's a long movie at two hours.
And so, sadly a lot of good stuff was cut. So for example, there were 9 prisoners arrested, you only saw one.
There were 7 prisoners who went to the parole board, You only saw one. There were 2 days of parents visiting - and by the way that took place on the yard, not in a separate place - [we wanted] the parents both to experience what their kids were experiencing, [and to] make the parents be a part of the study in a subtle way.
The parole board hearings were also done in a separate part of the building and I was never part of it. In fact we had secretaries, ordinary people, plus Carlo Prescott, who is this black ex-convict who has just gotten out of prison after 17 years. Sixteen of those years his parole was turned down by ... the parole board! So when he's now in that role - it's almost the most dramatic thing - He becomes somebody he has hated. For 17 years, that guy who he is, said 'no way, go back to your prison, come back next year'.
And so, here again, the whole movie is about the power of role-playing, that you start out playing a role and then over time you become the role, and the role becomes you.
So it's obvious in some of the guards, some of the prisoners - it's less obvious what happened to me.
But here's Carlo Prescott.
The priest is an interesting guy. In one way he contributed more than anything to convince the prisoners they were in a real jail.
Now he had been a prison chaplain in a prison in Washington, D.C.
During summer school, before the study, in July, I taught a course with Carlo Prescott, on the psychology of imprisonment, for undergraduates and graduate students at Stanford, in order for me to learn about prisons. We had ex-cons come in, we had guards come in, and other people. And this priest was there and he said, 'hey, I was a .... prison chaplain'.
He wanted me to give him some references. And I said, 'tradeoff!'. I'll give you what you need but I want you to come down to our prison and give me a sense of how realistic it is. Come down to our experiment.
And what does he do? Exactly what you saw. He knows it's an experiment, and what does he tell the kids? 'What are you doing to get out ?' 'What do you mean?'
... 'What's your charge?' Almost all the kids said what the cop had told them. violation of penal code 459 ... And he says, 'what are you doing to get out?' He [prisoner] says 'What do you mean?'
And he says, 'You're in jail, you're in prison! You've got to get a lawyer to get out. Don't you know that? You should know that. You're a college student.' He starts humiliating them. And he says 'o.k., I'll get a lawyer'.
And one of the kids says, 'my cousin is a public defender. Please call my mother to contact him to help me get out.'
What does he do? He now is in the role of prison chaplain, and he calls the mother to say 'your son is in the Stanford Prison Jail, and he needs a public defender to get him out'.
What you don't see in the movie is, on the last day the public defender comes down - and he knows it's an experiment, I briefed him. But
he goes in, and now there's only 5 kids left (including his cousin), and he goes through the public defender's routine: Have there been promises not kept, have there been threats? Has there been inadequate diet? He goes through the checklist.
At the end he says, 'OK, I'll be back on Monday'.
And the kids start screaming. 'Monday?! We can't live another day, you've got to get us out!'
I'm a public defender, I'm not a lawyer, I can't get you out.
The kids start yelling and crying, and that's the point at which [raps on the wood podium 3 times]
the study is over. So that's how it ended.
Back up to the night before.
You saw the confrontation I had - that Billy Crudup had with Olivia Thirlby.
That was me and my girlfriend, Christina Maslach.
What they cut out, unfortunately for women's heroism, is the line in which she says 'You have become somebody I don't know. The situation has changed you, not just the prison guards...
How could you see the suffering I see and not be upset?' Then she said, 'I know you as a loving, caring person. Students love you...But something has happened and you've changed. And if this is the real you I want to break off our relationship.'
Now you saw in the movie, we had just moved in together, in San Francisco - 1725 Taylor Street - and we're planning on eventually getting married and having kids...And she says, 'this is wrong. I'm willing to give up all of that for a moral cause.' She never said 'you should end the study'. She just said, 'Think about what you're doing. You're allowing suffering to go on.' For me, I'm saying, 'well, I prevented physical abuse.' The guards never hit prisoners. That opening scene is wrong, where a guard hit a prisoner. The only physical abuse was during the rebellion, when the guards broke in and the prisoners started attacking them. But after that I said, No physical abuse.
But I didn't prevent psychological abuse, which over time is much worse.
Namely the guards created a totally arbitrary environment, in which the
guard would tell a joke and [if] you laughed, you got punished. Guard would tell a joke and you didn't laugh, you got punished.
So aside from the kids who broke down - and there were 5, they only showed a few - the other kids became zombies.
No matter what the guards said, they did it:
'Tell him he's an a**hole'. 'Spit in his face' [They'd do it.]
So for the kids that broke down, this was a way of getting out.
In fact, after 8612 broke down and got out,
that was a negative role model, how you get out of this study.
Now what's interesting is, if any prisoner said 'I want to quit the experiment', that was the magic phrase. I would have had to let them go, because that's what I had agreed with the human subjects committee.
In 1971 there was a human subjects committee that approved the ethics of that study. So if people say, is that study ethical? Of course it is! Because before you did it, what was it, it was kids playing cops and robbers in the basement of the psychology department, in an experiment, and everybody knew it was an
experiment; they signed informed consent.
After the fact they say, 'how can anybody allow that?'
In fact the human subjects committee said two things:
You have to make student health aware of it in case a kid got sick.
And also, there's only one entrance, so it could be a fire hazard, so there were fire extinguishers the guards used on the prisoners.
(That's not what the ethics committee thought.)
So backing up now...
One of the ways I knew to make The Prison Study work, is having the police arrest the prisoners. Because you needed the authorities to take away your freedom. If they had come and said 'I'm here for the study, to be in your experiment, I'm going to be a prisoner or a guard', once we assign them to be a prisoner, when [things] got bad they'd say, 'I take back my freedom. I gave it to you, I can get it back'.
But now the authorities took it away. The police arrested you. They charged you with a crime.
And what they didn't show, sadly, in the movie - because they didn't have the budget:
The police took each kid to the real police station in Palo Alto.
They had a full booking - fingerprinting, photographing,
put them in a real jail cell.
One after another.
And then Craig Haney and Curt Banks, my assistants, picked them up and blindfolded them, and brought them to our prison. And then you saw the prison initiation.
And they did that with
kid after kid after kid.
So even though they knew they had not done what the police had said
when they read them their Miranda rights, nevertheless the authorities took away their freedom.
and only the authorities, namely the parole board, could give it back.
In fact, at the end of each parole hearing, each prisoner was asked, 'Would you be willing to forfeit all the money you have earned as a prisoner if we were to parole you?'
Everyone said yes.
We're surrounded by secretaries - they just said what? 'I don't want your money'. The only reason any of them were in the experiment was for the 50 bucks a day - not to be in a prison study!
They had just finished summer school at Berkely and Stanford [and Santa Cruz State] ... These are kids from all over the United States. [Only two were Stanford students. It's a little misleading: Only one guard and one prisoner were from Stanford.]
At that point what should they have done? They should have said, 'I'm out of here!' I don't want your money, I'm out!'
Instead, the head of the parole board calls and says 'take them away'. They stand up, put their hands out like this [arms extended], the guards put handcuffs on,
bags over their heads, takes them away.
At that moment it was no longer an experiment, it was a prison. As one of the prisoners said, it was a prison run by psychologists.
So in fact one of the lessons is the extent to which all prisons are prisons of the mind.
And so when I finished this study the first thing I started studying was: shyness.
Shyness is a self-imposed psychological prison!
Nobody says 'you're shy'. You say 'I'm shy. Therefore, I can't ask a girl for a date,
I can't answer the question even though I know the answer, I can't ask for a raise even though I deserve it... And then you become your own guard who limits your freedom: freedom of association, freedom of speech... In your own prison you'll be locked in with yourself.
So with that metaphor I went on to study shyness, for the next 20 years.
I was the first person to study shyness beyond adolescence. And then we created a shyness clinic which is still in effect in Palo Alto University where I taught for a number of years. Then I wrote a book called 'Shyness: What It Is, What To Do About It'. It sold 500,000 copies to ordinary people.
So for me, that's my legacy, not this. [Extending an idea, translating it into research...] We did cross-cultural research, laboratory research, survey research. Translated that into practice, Creating a therapy for shyness which works 100% of the time. And then presenting your ideas to the general public. For me, that's what I want to be remembered for rather than ... this bad [$h!*]. (laughter)
Perspectives on the Movie Portrayal
So Billie Crudup does a pretty good job of being me, with one big exception: He doesn't understand what it means to be an academic professor working with graduate students. His model is really a European professor who is very formal. He's formal: the way he stands, the way he moves. He never touches his students, you see ... Again, you know, I'm Italian, I'm Sicilian: I'm hugging myself, [making hand gestures] all the time... and making jokes. And if you're a research professor your life depends on your relationship with your students. There are students I worked with 20-30-40 years ago, when I meet them, we're still comrades. And there's none of that.
And because there's none of that you don't see a change in him as much. He's too negative too early. Except for the opening scenes where he's loving with his girlfriend Christina, he's too negative. And I tried to tell him that on the set and also I tried to tell him, 'Billy, I'm a Sicilian! Billy!' [gestures] He couldn't do it! Because actors are paid to not have their hands come in front of their face.
So for me that's a weakness. It's not enough of a psychological transformation of being the objective, neutral, distant researcher who then
gets sucked into his study and at some point becomes the prison superintendent.
For me the key scene - and again, it's not dealt with as well as it could be - is visiting night ... The kids looked really ragged, I mean worse than the actors did, because our prisoners are being woken up every 2 hours. They had bags under their eyes, they were groggy, they had insomnia.
And Mrs. [x] & and Mr. [x] come in, because at the end of visiting they had to see the prison superintendent. I was in the office that said 'Prison Superintendent'.
'Dr. Zimbardo', the mother says, 'I don't mean to make trouble but I've never seen my son looking so terrible.'
Red light! She just said 'I don't mean to make trouble'. She's going to blow the whistle, and I should look out. So what am I going to do? I could say 'tell me a little more' or I could say - what? 'What's your son's problem?'
This is every administrator.
You know, when the teacher gets a kid, and the mother comes in, the teacher always says,
'why is your son so uncontrollable?'
And so you put them on the defensive.
So she says, 'He's so tired, he doesn't sleep.'
I say, 'does he have insomnia'?
What am I doing? I'm saying 'the problem is your son'.
The whole study is the study of power situations over disposition.
What I'm doing is saying 'what's your son's disposition?'
'He says oh, they wake us up at all hours of the night.'
Oh yes! We call those 'counts'. The guards on every shift have to account for the fact prisoners have not escaped.
And she says one more time, near the end of the movie, 'I don't mean to make trouble'.
She's going to blow the whistle!
So what am I going to do? I'm going to become a sexist. That's a role that I hate.
What does that mean? I'm going to turn to Dad and say, 'don't you think your son is man enough?'
What is he going to say to himself? 'Oh no, he's a real ...' So I give him a high 5, with a guy shake, have fun guy, and he says 'See you next week'.
At that moment we cut the mother out. It's a 'guy thing'.
That night a kid broke down. That night she sent me a letter, which I have in The Lucifer Effect. Saying 'you're doing such good work, I'm really sorry to make trouble...
But she was right on. And the father who saw the same kid was
seduced by this sexist role.
And after the fact, when I saw the video of that I was horrified. Oh my God, how could you do that? That was, for me, slipping into the role of prison Superintendent.
The other thing was... The single worst scene in the movie is the gym scene. They just got it wrong...
What happened was, we believed the rumor - namely 8612 was going to break in with his buddies to 'liberate the prison'.
8612- with all of that rhetoric... He had been a student activist at Berkely, against the Vietnam War. And what they did was they broke windows in the library, and he police came and he ran away. So now again he was 'power to the people'.
But now, he couldn't run away.
....The guards knew how to break any kind of prisoners' alliances by punishing the other prisoners. So the rumor was he's going to break in. And we believed it.
So the first thing I did, which was really crazy,
I called the sergeant and I arranged a squad car for us... And I said 'I have a prison break on my hands. I need your help... I want to bring back all the prisoners to the Old jail.' [We have the prisoners all lined up ...] We're about to bring them to the old jail, and he calls and said, 'the city manager
says we can't do it: it would be an insurance liability'...
I said, I've got to come down. I go down, 'We need your cooperation! There's going to be a riot!'
He must have thought I was a *$#@! lunatic! (laughter)
I say, 'Where's our institutional cooperation?' Anyway... So that was out.
So then the plan was, we dismantle the whole prison, take the doors off, beds in the hall, and I'll sit there. And when they break in I'm going to say 'too late, nothing was happening, the study is over, go home', and then that night we would reinforce the doors and everything.
It was a rumor! I studied rumor transmission! I should have been studying rumor transmission... instead we believed it.
So I'm sitting there waiting for this momentous event. And in comes my Yale graduate school roommate, Gordon Bower ... We're colleagues at Stanford. And so he's my age. I say, Gordon, I've got a big problem on my hands, I'll talk to you another time! And he says joshingly, 'Hey, what's the independent variable?' And again I say, of course, 'random assignment of prisoners and guards, now get out of here!' What they do in the movie is have this old guy come in and make the young guy look foolish. I don't even know if he ever answers the question and I don't know why they did that. But it's one of the few bad directorial pieces. Other than that the directing is really, really good... And the director Kyle Alvarez did all the editing...the editing won an award at Sundance.
I would say it's about, probably, 90% accurate, 90% of the scenes. All the dialogue between prisoners and guards is right on. I don't use obscenities, I only use sh**. A lot of the obscenity ... is part of the R rating, plus you see 8612's butt. (laughter)
What I'm trying to do now, is...
The study premiered in New York and then Los Angeles. And during that time
the President of the United States, Barack Obama, visited a prison.
Believe it or not he is the first President of the United States in 200 years to visit a prison.
No President ever visited a prison, not a federal or state prison, and so it made news. And then he said,
'We must now engage in prison reform'. Because prisons now - there are
2.3 million American citizens in prison.
When we did the study in '71 it was about 700,000 and I was complaining that was too much. Of those a huge number are
African-American men, Latino men, there for non-violent crimes, for drug crimes. And it's costing us billions of dollars in tax support.
The other thing that's happened is, prisons have become privatized,
meaning: there are companies making money on keeping prisoners in prison. With no rehabilitation...
So essentially what I'm trying to do is have a showing of this study at the White House, for 2 reasons:
When we premiered the movie in New York, Obama's daughter Malik put on Twitter that she and her girlfriends saw the movie and liked it.
And secondly, President Obama's primary assistant is Valerie [Jarrett?]... who was my honor student at Stanford, [so I've been writing to her saying come on Valerie, show the movie, I'll come down and we'll get the President behind it. That would be really good.]
So essentially, what's the 'message' of The Prison Study?
Purposely the director chose not to make it didactic - not to make the actors say, 'and this study shows the power of social situations that dominate individual personality, the importance of understanding systems...'
He decided not to do that, not to have any of those 'educational messages'.
The idea is to make the movie sufficiently riveting, fascinating, emotionally expressive, that it would promote self-reflection.
What kind of guard would I have been? What kind of prisoner? If I was the superintendent would I have allowed this to go on as long as it did? Why didn't you end it after the 2nd prisoner broke down?
We can switch the roles. The guards could have become prisoners, the prisoners could be the guards, like Jane Elliot's Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes.
So the idea is we want this to stimulate those kinds of conversations.
How is this different than the Milgram study?'
Incidentally, little Stanley Milgram and I were in the same class at James Monroe High School in the Bronx in 1950. We drank from the same Bronx polluted water. [laughter]
For me these are the main things... I'm going to write a thing, 'Reality Departures', to say: Here's what was accurate in the movie, here's what they did there.... I'm trying to get the director to do a director's cut, but he's somebody that doesn't believe in that. He's got 45 minutes that he cut out that I'd like him to put back..."
With that [as time was running out] Dr. Zimbardo invited questions.
Q & A
QUESTION: I'm an undergraduate student from Los Angeles... My question is, how did you take this negative and turn it into a positive?
A: Well, thank you. That's a great question. Actually, in 2007 or 8, I gave a conference at the TED conference in Monterey and it was really my journey from creating evil - which I did - to now inspiring heroism. Inspiring heroism, it's just the thought to say: Ordinary people could become everyday heroes. I wanted to get away from the idea of military male warriors - Agamemnon, Achilles... Anybody can be a hero, through deeds of daily kindness, through being socially focused. And at the end of that conference many people came up ... and said 'hey, you should have a foundation. You should promote this hero stuff - because nobody ever talks about that.'']
And in fact, two things missing from every psychology textbook, including all of Marty Seligman's 'positive psychology', are the words 'hero' and 'heroism'. Doesn't exist.
[How is this entirely missing] from psychology's lexicon... even in' positive psychology'? Marty Seligman says: it's not a private virtue. Compassion is there, empathy is there. Heroism is but a civic action.
And I say 'what good is compassion and empathy if it doesn't lead to civic action? It makes you feel good; it doesn't change the world.'
So essentially what I did is, I created, in San Francisco, a non-profit called the Heroic Imagination Project. It's online: HeroicImagination.org
And it's to teach ordinary people, especially young kids, how to be everyday heroes, how to be heroes in training.
Essentially we have developed over 6 years a number of unique educational programs - on bystanders,
on mindset, on prejudice - which are revolutionary because teachers no longer lecture, teachers are like coaches. And all of our
lessons are built around videos because kids live in a visual world.
So our program now is in many schools in California, all over Hungary, Poland, and in the Godfather town of Corleone, Sicily.
We need sponsors, we need volunteers....
[More information: heroicimagination.org]
With that, time was up. The audience was invited to pose additional questions (or pose for 'selfies' with the man in the Z-shirt) outside the ballroom, or to write to Mel (short for Melissa) at heroicimagination.org with any questions, for information, or to volunteer or contribute.
Meanwhile, the organization also has a booth in the Exhibit Hall, with information, t-shirts and other items for sale (to help the foundation).
The session ended to thunderous applause and people queued up both in the room and the outer hallway for questions,photos, and the chance to meet this psychology legend. I was pleased to be given a wrist-band (still on, and resisting removal) - "I am an Everyday Hero". Thank you for that. I'm off to buy a t-shirt or two now...
Zimbardo on Transforming Evil into Heroism (2014)
Zimbardo: Analysis of a TED Event (2012)
Zimbardo: Reflections (2011)
Enduring Lessons from 40 Years Ago: Stanford Prison Experiment (2011)
Q&A with Zimbardo (2009)
Evil, Hate, & Horror (2007) - Zimbardo and Beck
2009 Convention Highlights:
Internet: Pathway for Networking, Connecting, and Addiction | Opening | Virtual Psychology & Therapy | Q&A with Zimbardo | Seligman: Positive Education | Future of Internet Media | Sex, Love, & Psychology | How Dogs Think
2010 Convention Highlights:
Online Support Groups & Applications |
Evidence & Ethical Practice | Opening Ceremony | Sir Michael Rutter: Resilience
Group Memory | Psychology in the Digital Age | Steven Hayes: What Psychotherapists Have that the World Needs Now
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Copyright © 2015 Michael Fenichel
Last Updated: Saturday, 29-Aug-2015 01:40:43 EDT