Articles by Dr. Philip G. Zimbardo

Philip Zimbardo’s contact with Peoples Temple began with his invitation to Jeannie Mills, the author of Six Years with God, and her husband Al as guest lecturers in his course on Mind Control at Stanford University, to discuss Jim Jones’ dark side. The two were murdered not long afterwards. He also worked with Jonestown survivors Richard Clark and Diane Louie, who escaped on morning of the massacre.

Dr. Zimbardo was an expert witness in the defense of Larry Layton at his first trial in the U.S. Through him, Dr. Zimbardo befriended both Larry’s sister Debby Layton (Seductive Poison) and Jim Jones’ son, Stephan Jones, both of whom also made presentations in his course.

Dr. Zimbardo invited Richard Clark and Diane Louie, two Jonestown survivors, to speak to his psychology class in January 1979, and later organized a conference on destructive cults at Stanford with some parents of deceased Temple members. He also participated as a panel member on the national radio call following the NPR broadcast of “Father Cares.” He has written and lectured extensively on the power of charismatic leaders and the creation of obedient followers. He may be reached at

How Orwell’s 1984 Has Influenced Rev. Jim Jones to Dominate and Then Destroy His Followers: With Extensions to Current Political Leaders (2020)

Jonestown Recollections Forty Years Later (2018)

Jonestown Heroes (2008)

On the transformation of Jim Jones: From God’s minister to the Angel of Death (2007)

State Terror and State-Sanctioned Terrorism: Models of Mind and Behavior Control in Orwell’s 1984, as Operationalized by Jim Jones in the Peoples Temple Mass Suicide/Murders (2006)

Philip Zimbardo was interviewed for the Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program in 2017. The 277-page document covering Dr. Zimbardo’s life – including several passing references to Jonestown – appears here.