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My early childhood prepared me to be a social psychologist. I grew up in a South Bronx ghetto in a very poor family. From Sicilian origin, I was the first person in my family to complete high school, let alone go to college.
I was discriminated against because I was Jewish, Italian, black and Puerto Rican. But maybe the worst prejudice I experienced was against the poor. I grew up on welfare and often had to move in the middle of the night because we couldn't pay the rent.
I started studying shyness in adults in 1972. Shyness operates at so many different levels. Out of that research came the Stanford shyness clinic in 1977.
I have been primarily interested in how and why ordinary people do unusual things, things that seem alien to their natures. Why do good people sometimes act evil? Why do smart people sometimes do dumb or irrational things?
Human behavior is incredibly pliable, plastic.
Heroes are those who can somehow resist the power of the situation and act out of noble motives, or behave in ways that do not demean others when they easily can.
Evil is knowing better, but willingly doing worse.
Careers in virtually all academic disciplines are fostered by being a superstar who knows more about one subject than anyone else in the world.
Being hurt personally triggered a curiosity about how such beliefs are formed.
At North Hollywood High School, I was shunned by everyone. I would sit down in the cafeteria, and students would get up from the table and walk away. They thought I was from the Mafia.
After doing psychology for half a century, my passion for all of it is greater than ever.
Academic success depends on research and publications.
I Dont Want To Lose You
I Miss You
Life Is Too Short
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