Philip Zimbardo and I are excited to be creating a new social psychology experiment that will challenge a group of young people to take courageous nonviolent action in defense of ethical principles they hold dear.
Professor Zimbardo, creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment, has spent his career studying how people can be induced to behave badly. In this project, we’ll be encouraging people to behave admirably and ethically. The Heroic Imagination Project and the Berkeley Group Education Foundation intend to produce a video series, Group Dynamics and the New Heroism. In that video we shall help young leaders become attuned to the new heroism that is sociocentric and not egocentric, focusing on the cooperation of many and not the idealization of one. It is not the lone figure acting in isolation that epitomizes the hero but the individual who can effectively enlist the help of others in accomplishing a task of ethical importance. And the action a person takes may involve considerable personal risk and may not offer any tangible reward.
We shall be looking for the social forces and contexts which allow ordinary human beings to act in extraordinary ways in the service of other human beings and the support of ethical causes. How can our group members transform themselves and create a social network that mutually supports courageous actions? Philip Zimbardo and I will model for the group members the key to heroism—a willingness to take calculated risks and to spontaneously act in situations you have never faced before. As co-leaders, we will stitch together the edited segments of the videos with commentary that anticipates developments in the group process, building expectations for the viewers to keep them watching.
We shall gather ten aspiring young leaders, ages 18 to 25 years, and meet for 10 hours across two successive Saturdays to teach the skills of ethical leadership. The group will be unscripted, spontaneous and will be captured by state of the art video and sound stage equipment. The video footage will be edited to produce a four hour video series, for sale and dissemination to high schools and colleges.
We are appealing to the public to support our video project.
Look for us soon on Indiegogo, the crowd funding website.
Philip Zimbardo www.theheroicimagination.org, www.zimbardo.com