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The Social Psychology of Good and Evil / Edition 1

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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.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Miller has produced a masterful volume featuring uniformly excellent chapters. Coverage includes conceptual issues, contexts and causes of harm, and the role of the self-concept, as well as a very welcome section on the possibilities of kindness. From distinguished social psychologists, many of the chapters are destined to become classics. Necessary reading for anyone concerned with good and evil."--Ralph W. Hood, Jr., PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

"This volume tackles one of the most profound issues of human life--why people engage both in behavior that is extraordinarily harmful to others and behavior that is extraordinarily beneficial. 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

"Miller brings together an all-star team of social psychologists to explore the roots of integrity, empathy, and self-sacrificial altruism--and of hate, terrorism, and self-gratifying greed. This state-of-the-art volume is a feast of humanly significant scholarship, and a guidebook for our time."--David G. Myers, PhD, Department of Psychology, Hope College

“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

Nursing Standard

"An accomplished text that makes an important contribution to social psychology. In nursing, the book will be useful for those studying abuse and for lecturers working in nursing ethics."--Nursing Standard
Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

"Miller has corralled a refreshing mix of social psychological voices to examine the nature of kindness and cruelty. A classical social psychological emphasis on situational influences forms a common thread that blends standard approaches, theories, and findings with less expected, but welcome, contributions. This eighteen-chapter volume offers a bit of something for everyone. Graduate students and advanced undergraduates will find helpful literature reviews and discussions of conceptual approaches. Instructors will find several essays that are especially accessible to students. Those teaching interdisciplinary courses on the topic of good and/or evil will find a broad representation of social psychological perspectives. For seasoned scholars conducting research on good and evil, this book offers some new empirical evidence, but perhaps more valuable still are the unexpected insights generated by relating classic topics to the theme of good and evil."--Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology
The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

"This excellent anthology can be recommended to a wide variety of audiences....Anyone who is interested in the social psychological literature on these topics could not find a better compilation of contemporary conceptions regarding these concerns....This is an excellent compilation of the most recent research by some of the more distinguished experts illuminating genuinely important social psychological questions."--The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

"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

"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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593851941
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/22/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 498
  • Sales rank: 640,545
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur G. Miller, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He received his doctorate in social psychology from Indiana University in 1967 and spent 1979-1980 at Princeton University on a National Institute of Mental Health fellowship, studying with Ned Jones. Dr. Miller’s professional affiliations include the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. He is the editor of In the Eye of the Beholder: Contemporary Issues in Stereotyping and the author of The Obedience Experiments: A Case Study of Controversy in Social Science. Dr. Miller’s primary teaching and research interests include stereotyping and stigma, biases in attribution and social judgment, and judgmental reactions to diverse explanations of evil and violence.
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Table of Contents

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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