Zimbardo Completes Stanford Mailing List Experiment

April 20, 2011 9:00 am
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Zimbardo Completes Stanford Mailing List Experiment

Philip Zimbardo, Stanford professor emeritus of Psychology recently released the results of his newest study, which he has dubbed the “Stanford Mailing List Experiment.”

Zimbardo wanted to explore the extent to which the internet increased idiocy over time.”From my previous research and experience on the internet, I hypothesized that the internet would lead to complete stupidity. I wanted to create the perfect situation, and I found it in a completely unmoderated all-campus mailing list. For me it was Lord of the Flies, on the internet. This is why I created ugres_rcfs.”

Zimbardo said he was quite pleased by his results. “From my prison experiment, I learned that the right conditions can lead to people achieving the lowest common denominator of human activity. And we’ve found this same thing on the internet. Instead of beatings and abuses, we find cats and and rickrolls. I wanted to let the experiment keep going in the name of science, but my good wife and my humanity persuaded me to stop.”