What if your attitudes toward time could explain why you are chronically late, why you're likely to fight for rainforest preservation, or why you might be predisposed to addictions?
Philip Zimbardo, renowned for his notorious 1971 Stanford Prison Experiments, will discuss how internal time perspectives determine every single one of our thoughts, feelings and actions.
He even makes the case that attitudes toward time can influence national destinies- The Commonwealth Club of California
Philip Zimbardo is internationally recognized as a leading "voice and face of contemporary psychology" through his widely seen PBS-TV series, "Discovering Psychology," his media appearances, best-selling trade books on shyness, and his classic research, The Stanford Prison Experiment.
Zimbardo has been a Stanford University professor since 1968 (now an Emeritus Professor), having taught previously at Yale, NYU, and Columbia University. He continues teaching graduate students at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, and at the Naval Post Graduate School (Monterey). He has been given numerous awards and honors as an educator, researcher, writer, and service to the profession. Recently, he was awarded the Havel Foundation Prize for his lifetime of research on the human condition. Among his more than 300 professional publications and 50 books is the oldest current textbook in psychology, Psychology and Life, now in its 18th Edition, and Core Concepts in Psychology in its 5th Edition.
His current research interests continue in the domain of social psychology, with a broad emphasis on everything interesting to study from shyness to time perspective, madness, cults, vandalism, political psychology, torture, terrorism, and evil. Noted for his personal and professional efforts to actually "give psychology away to the public," Zimbardo has also been a social-political activist, challenging the Government's wars in Vietnam and Iraq, as well as the American Correctional System.
Zimbardo has served as elected President of the Western Psychological Association (twice), President of the American Psychological Association, the Chair of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) representing 63 scientific, math and technical associations (with 1.5 million members), and now is Chair of the Western Psychological Foundation.
He heads a philanthropic foundation in his name to promote education in his ancestral Sicilian towns. Zimbardo adds to his retirement list activities: serving as the new executive director of a center on terrorism, the Center for Interdisciplinary Policy, Education, and Research on Terrorism (CIPERT).
He is also the author of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (Random House, 2007).
"he could have done some MRI brain scans and try to understand some biological bases for behaviors explored."
No, he couldn't - there is no biological basis for these behaviors. Not even "mental illness" can be "diagnosed" - there is no pathological test; it can't be seen on an MRI, CAT Scan, etc.
The whole theory is flawed, especially in regards to economic status. Addiction is an equal opportunity thing; you have very successful people, whom one would assume would be future oriented, who are addicts. We need to stop trying to fit people into boxes. I do agree with him on one thing: for the most part, it's nurture, not nature.
An entertaining talk, but complete fiction when it comes to trying to put poor people into the "present hedonistic" category. This is the problem with trying to put people in boxes - not all poor people are consistently late - many go to great lengths to be punctual - and not all wealthy people are late because they are more respected. Anyone who is consistently late is irresponsible, rich or poor. Too bad we can't speak the truth any more - we must be "understanding" in regards to people living with a certain time perspective....what nonsense.
Good point Simon!
That leads to the very important detail of a phenomenons context and condition.
Zimbardos theory is set in the condition of a materialistic society with a world-view that premiums effeciency, GNP, better life-conditions (materially, helthwise, "freedom") for all (?) und so weiter. It´s supposed to give a clue on how to decrease this societys negative costs of addiction, depression, unemployment (through more well-educated future-oriented people?), fatal accidents, suicide u.s.w.
A true scientific approach (at lest in de domains of the Philosophy of Science - maybe we just should call it an "extended approach") to this theory would be to value the pain of waiting for the two marshmallows equal to the benefit of getting them, as you do. At least that´s the truely rational decision of the Present-minded.
If we in this way try to rank the three time-patterns equal, we also must take responsibility for the outcomes of the Past- and Present-oriented ones. What settings have they come up from? What sort of society do they suggest? How could one cultivate theese characteristics and in what sort of world would they be beneficial? Is there a possibility to re-schedule the world-order (including its current economic-driven mode) in a way accordring to theese lines, that still bear the marks of consideration to the poor, the underpriviliged, the environment, keeping an eye to the sustainability of the whole? Or is there other goals, values and priorities we should be moving toward?
Truely curiouse, not a bit ironic!/Y.
A thought on the marshmallow experiment:
What about the notion of decreasing marginal benefit (economics) eating two marshmallows is not twice as good as eating one, it is only marginally better. The pain of waiting would probably out weigh the extra enjoyment of the additional marshmallow. Just because society rewards a behavior doesn't mean that it is the most rational.
Philip Zimbardo, I enjoyed your lecture but I had a question.
You have positive and negative flavours of past and present time orientation, yet future orientation is missing a negative flavour.
Would someone who is defeatist have a negative future orientation or would they be present fatalist?