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Zimbardo Opens First World Congress on Positive Psychology

The renowned psychologist urges colleagues to "ask big questions."

Published June 19, 2009

Zimbardo Opens First World Congress on Positive Psychology

Phil ZimbardoRenowned Stanford University psychologist Philip Zimbardo kicked off the first World Congress on Positive Psychology on June 18 in Philadelphia with a lecture titled, “Change Your Evil Ways.” His talk was based on his book The Lucifer Effect, which investigates why good people do bad things, and on new research into heroism as the antidote to evil. Zimbardo, who recently launched the Heroic Imagination Project, to “celebrate what is best in human nature,” suggests that when people can imagine behaving heroically, they will think more positively about the future and be more likely to do good than to do harm.

The congress, organized by the International Positive Psychology Association, featured three days of lectures and workshops exploring psychological tools for helping people flourish, instead of languish, in their personal, social, and professional lives. Zimbardo urged the audience of 1,500 practitioners and students of positive psychology to “ask big questions and use the best experimental methods.”

Zimbardo spoke to a sold-out audience at the Academy about The Time Paradox, his most recent book, as part of the Science & the City series in September 2008.