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The Social Psychology of Good and Evil

by Edited by Arthur G. Miller

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.

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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.

"The editor and contributors--all prominent researchers and theorists--clearly enjoyed crafting these chapters, which mix theory and empirical findings with critical, often personal, reflections on their topics. Their passion for the work makes the book extremely engaging, even when the topics are disturbing or disquieting....Highly recommended."
-Choice

"This remarkable resource was published just in time for my students’ use in 'Evil: Concepts and Realities.' Examining humanity's greatest mysteries from the viewpoint of the best minds in contemporary social psychology had a powerful impact on my students."
-Mark A. Hurst, PhD, The Evergreen State College

"This volume tackles one of the most profound issues of human life....Chapters shed light on this issue from a wide range of perspectives, resulting in an extremely thought-provoking work. A useful text for advanced undergraduate- or graduate-level students, the book might even inspire social psychologists to organize new seminars around this topic."
-Alice H. Eagly, PhD, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University

"Why do people sometimes engage in unimaginable brutality? Why at other times do they go out of their way to provide crucial assistance to others--even at great cost to themselves? And what could be more important questions for social scientists to address? The essays in this book will not definitively resolve these issues, but they will certainly change the way you think about them. I don't know of any better review of research on the nature of good and evil--in fact, it's hard to imagine one."
-Leonard S. Newman, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago

"This volume is a feast of humanly significant scholarship, and a guidebook for our time."
-David G. Myers, PhD, Department of Psychology, Hope College

498 Pages

1. Introduction and Overview, Arthur G. Miller
I. Conceptual Perspectives on Good and Evil
2. A Situationist Perspective on the Psychology of Evil: Understanding How Good People Are Transformed into Perpetrators, Philip G. Zimbardo
3. Basic Human Needs, Altruism, and Aggression, Ervin Staub
4. Four Roots of Evil, Roy F. Baumeister and Kathleen D. Vohs
5. The Evolution of Evil, Joshua D. Duntley and David M. Buss
II. Harming Others: Contexts, Causes, and Implications
6. What's in a Category?: Responsibility, Intent, and the Avoidability of Bias against Outgroups, Susan T. Fiske
7. Contemporary Racial Bias: When Good People Do Bad Things, John F. Dovidio, Samuel L. Gaertner, Jason A. Nier, Kerry Kawakami, and Gordon Hodson
8. Violent Evil and the General Aggression Model, Craig A. Anderson and Nicholas L. Carnagey
9. What Can the Milgram Obedience Experiments Tell Us about the Holocaust?: Generalizing from the Social Psychology Laboratory, Arthur G. Miller
10. Conceptualizing Sexual Violence: Socially Acceptable Coercion and Other Controversies, Charlene L. Muehlenhard and Zoe D. Peterson
III. The Self-Concept in Relation to Good and Evil Acts
11. The Pursuit of Self-Esteem: Implications for Good and Evil, Jennifer Crocker, Shawna J. Lee, and Lora E. Park
12. The Many Faces of Lies, Bella M. DePaulo
13. A Moral-Emotional Perspective on Evil Persons and Evil Deeds, June Price Tangney and Jeff Stuewig
IV. The Possibilities for Kindness
14. Benefits and Liabilities of Empathy-Induced Altruism, C. Daniel Batson, Nadia Ahmad, and E. L. Stocks
15. Empathy-Related Responding: Moral, Social, and Socialization Correlates, Nancy Eisenberg, Carlos Valiente, and Claire Champion
16. Social Support and Behavior toward Others: Some Paradoxes and Some Directions, Thomas Ashby Wills and Jody A. Resko
17. Sacrificing Time and Effort for the Good of Others: The Benefits and Costs of Volunteerism, Mark Snyder, Allen M. Omoto, and James J. Lindsay
18. Reducing Hostility and Building Compassion: Lessons from the Jigsaw Classroom, Eliot Aronson

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