Criminology – TED-talks

Welcome back! I’d like to share some of my favourite TED talks in regards to crime and criminology. The talks are intended for any audience, so everyone can listen with no prior subject matter knowledge.

TED stands for Technology Entertainment and Design, and has grown out of a conference dedicated to these ideas. Now, TED have amazing talks on a whole variety of ideas and professions. TEDtalks are fantastic for sharing ideas in a short space and time – most of the talks I’ve listened to are less than 20 minutes.

Here are 3 TEDtalks on criminology, which I think are fantastic:

The Psychology of Evil – Philip Zimbardo

Warning – contains very graphic images, involves serious war crimes and dissects religion.

With a tidy 4 million + views, this talk is very interesting about how easy it is to be evil, but also focuses on how to be a hero.

Philip Zimbardo is the architect of the Stanford Prison Experiment, a very famous psychological experiment from the sixties. Students were turned into guards and prisoners respectively. Over time, students began to act those roles – guards had sadistic tendencies, and prisoners were stressed and depressed, even though it was simply an experiment and students willingly had signed up, aware that it was an experiment. Every crim student will have read about this study – it focusses on how people aren’t inherently good or bad – rather situations can make it so. Watch the talk, and to learn more about the Stanford Prison Experiment, click here:

I am the son of a Terrorist – Zak Ebrahim

I love this talk for a variety of reasons. One, the speaker is very brave for publicly discussing his family history as it comes at a personal risk. Two, the talk identifies how intervention along the pathway can divert people from crime – intentionally or unintentionally. Three- as in the Zimbardio talk, it shows how normalized committing crime can be. In this case, crime can be looked at an apprenticeship – not inherent in the person, rather an intended product of the environment.

Dan Gilbert – the Surprising Science of Happiness

Why am I a criminologist? Because I want people to lead crime free, fulfilling lives that bring happiness to themselves or others. This talk really made me re-think about how you can do that, and is interesting in the context of choices – how more choices can lead to less happiness. While I think that opportunities should be able to be accessed to anyone regardless of gender or race, the talk gives much food for thought about how psychology we are equipped to make the best out of what many would call a bad situation.

There are over 1000 TEDtalks, so there are many more to choose from if you are keen to find out more.

Cheerio, Em.


Rita Pierson – Every kid needs a champion

Short but sweet, this talk is an inspiring 8 minutes, and ends the blog on a more positive note. It’s summed up in its title – too often neglected and abused kids lead horrible adult lives. This talk is a shot out to all educators who make a positive difference to kids they teach.


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