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The Social Psychology of Good and Evil [Paperback]

By Arthur G. Miller (Editor)
Our Price $ 48.45  
Retail Value $ 57.00  
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Item Number 394626  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   498
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.52 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 6, 2005
Publisher   The Guilford Press
ISBN  1593851944  
EAN  9781593851941  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
This compelling work brings together an array of distinguished scholars to explore key concepts, theories, and findings pertaining to some of the most fundamental issues in social life: the conditions under which people are kind and helpful to others or, conversely, under which they commit harmful, even murderous, acts. Covered are such topics as the complex interaction of individual, societal, and situational factors underpinning good or evil behavior; the role of guilt and the self-concept; and issues of responsibility and motivation, including why good people do bad things. The volume also examines whether aggression and violence are inescapable aspects of human nature, and how cooperative interaction can break down stereotyping and discrimination.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
One of the most important books books on morality you'll ever read  Sep 22, 2006
I'll keep my comments brief because the editorial reviews on this book describe its basic essence. What I want to bring to the reader's attention is this: today there is much debate concerning the role that religion plays in developing moral behavior. This book shows how limited that role may actually be by demonstrating the biological and social forces that shape many of our ethical beliefs.

This book is so rich in information (many of the chapters can be easily read by the general public, but a few require some background in academic research)that I used it as the standard reference when writing a chapter on morality for the books Why We Believe What We Believe: Uncovering Our Biological Need for Meaning, Spirituality, and Truthand Born to Believe: God, Science, and the Origin of Ordinary and Extraordinary Beliefs, which I coauthored with Andrew Newberg.

This book demonstrates that human nature is equally driven to be both selfish and altruistic, hostile yet compassionate, and I came away from it with a very disturbing sense that we are far more amoral than we'd like to believe.

This book, however, is optimistic, and many chapters show how we can overcome personal and social biases and thus function more compassionately in the world. For example, several chapters refer to techniques that can be used in elementary school to teach children how to recognize and change discriminatory behavior.

Personally, the most disturbing chapter was written by Zimbardo, who conducted the Stanford "prison" experiment in the 1970s. In less than 24 hours, students automatically started to mistreat their student "inmates" in ways that hauntingly reflect the atrocities commited in Iraqi prisons by American soldiers. To some degree, we all little criminals, and once we acknowledge this unpleasant human trait, we can become better citizens, which is one of the goals that religious groups endeavor to achieve.

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