Stanford Prison Experiment psychologist drops disheartening findings on Reddit

Psychologist Phil Zimbardo led this week’s crop of top Reddit interviews.

Mar 3, 2020, 5:23 am*

Internet Culture

Kevin Collier 

Kevin Collier

Phil Zimbardo has some terrible news for Reddit: too much porn and video games are bad for you.

An accomplished psychologist best known for the Stanford Prison Experiment, Zimbardo led this week’s crop of top Reddit interviews.

“There is definitely reciprocal causality where a person may watch a lot of porn or play video games to excess and have social, sexual, and/or motivational problems,” he wrote. “It creates a cycle of isolation.”

Others highlights included a linguist who used to work for learn-a-language software company Rosetta Stone, comedian Michael Ian Black, and an actress who played a minor role on HBO’s Game of Thrones.

But none of the others made more of an impact than Daryl Davis, a remarkable man who wrote extensively on the Ku Klux Klan, interviewing members of all ranks and even befriending a number of them—despite being black.

“They come from all walks of life. The one common conformation was their belief in separatism and or supremacy. And even with that, some would talk with me, some would not, and some would attack me.”

Can’t you say the same thing about redditors?

A note on terminology: AMA stands for “ask me anything,” while “IAmA” is simply “I am a;” AMAA means “ask me almost anything.”

1) I am a published psychologist, author of the Stanford Prison Experiment, expert witness during the Abu Ghraib trials. AMA starting June 7th at 12PM (ET). (self.IAmA)

Q. You say that excessive use of video games and online porn is creating a generation of shy and risk-averse guys. What is excessive? Is there any amount of video game and online porn use that is ‘healthy’? (lollycaustic)

“When we spoke with Jane McGonigal her definition of excessive gaming was playing 4 or more hours a day. With porn, 2 or more hours a week is considered a heavy user. It really depends on your symptoms. Are you motivated to engage in other real life activities? Are you having trouble socializing with other people? With porn, are you turned on by real life people? If you answered no, you’re probably using one or both to excess.”

2) I AM Daryl Davis, “Black Man Who Befriended KKK Members” AMA (self.IAmA)

Q. Do you actually befriended them as in you became friends, or did you just meet them, had some kind of conversation, and you managed to not kill each other? (rand0mguy1)

“Yes, I truly befriended some of the KKK members and neo-Nazi members. Some of them left their respective organizations as a result of our friendship. Not at my request, but due to their own rethinking their ideology. There are others with whom I am friends, who are still in their organizations. You can have friends with whom you respectfully disagree.”

3) IAMA physicist/author. Ask me to calculate anything. (self.IAmA)

Q. If I gain a kilo of weight here on earth, how much more will my wife be attracted to me? (kipz0r)

“Assuming you’re 80 kg and she’s 60 kg and you’re standing 1 m apart, she’ll be attracted to you with an extra 4×10-9Newtons of force. That makes you about 1.2% more attractive to her.”

4) IAMA former Rosetta Stone employee who speaks 8 languages, AMAA. (self.IAmA)

Q. On average, how long does it take to learn a language if practiced for at least a half hour a day? Why are you no longer with the company? were they jerks? (steepo27)

“The average for all of my friends (RS and non-RS using alike) is 3-6 months for a good foundation. Meaning: you can carry on a conversation entirely in your target language. Another year or two or more to get really articulate and comfortable.

“On the small scale, my superiors were inept, mean-spirited, and uninterested in language. An area manager once showed up drunk, threatened me (playfully) with a blunt object, called me a few racial epithets, and threatened to fire me if the security camera was filming [them]. They made fun of Russian in front of an interested customer and scared of the customer. They tried to micromanage and play employees off one another. It was ugly.”

5) Amrita Acharia- portrayed Irri on Game of me ALMOST anything:) (self.IAmA)

Q. Hey Amrita! I was on the set as an extra for a few scenes in Renly’s camp.
What would you say is the strangest thing to occur on set? (GameOfThroneExtra)

“…. Imaginary dragons;)?”

6) IAmA keyboardist for Tokyo Police Club. I’m Graham Wright. AMA (self.IAmA)

Q. if you remember, you guys played a show during the calgary stampede last summer (it started to pour rain. made the concert even better). me and two of my friends came to you guys after the show and gave you a massive stuffed Jamaican banana that we won playing at a game. do you still have the banana?? (guynumber11)

“That banana is stapled to the wall directly above my keyboard in our rehearsal space.

“Thank YOU for the hilarious gift. Bagging that thing in the middle of a busy airport is one of my favourite memories.”

7) I Am Michael Ian Black, Sexy Bitch (self.IAmA)

Q. Can you tell the difference between Butter and I can’t believe it’s not Butter? (tallandlanky)

“If I can’t believe it’s not butter, then obviously I believe it to be butter, therefore it would be impossible for me to tell the difference. If I could tell the difference, I would know one of them to be butter and the other to not be butter.”

Photo via @PhilZimbardo

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*First Published: Jun 12, 2012, 4:05 pm