Zimbardo on heroism

A couple of weeks ago I posted an entry about Philip Zimbardo, a psychologist at Stanford. In 1971 Zimbardo ran the famous (or infamous) Stanford Prison Experiment, in which normal healthy young men were randomly chosen to be either prisoners or guards in a simulated prison. The experiment, which was meant to run for two weeks, was cut short after only six days because of the terrible effects on the subjects. The moral of the story seems to be that even normal decent people can be overcome by bad situations and do inhumane things. In this piece from Edge, Zimbardo talks about the other side of the coin: the ability of some people to resist a bad situation and do the right thing even under pressure, and how we can cultivate that kind of heroism.