Stand up. Speak out. Change the world.

The Heroic Imagination Project (HIP) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that teaches people how to take effective action in challenging situations.

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, the Heroic Imagination Project was founded by Dr. Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University. At HIP, we translate the extensive research findings of social psychology and related fields into meaningful insights and tools that individuals can use in their everyday lives to transform negative situations and create positive change.

Dr. Zimbardo’s work has studied the psychological foundations of negative forms of social influence (such as conformity, obedience, and the bystander effect) and is now refocused on understanding the nature of everyday heroism and the psychology of personal and social growth.

HIP is a research-based organization, which provides knowledge, tools, strategies, and exercises to individuals and groups to help them to overcome the social and psychological forces that can keep people from taking effective action at crucial moments in their lives.

Our Mission

To teach individuals the skills and awareness needed to make effective decisions in challenging situations.

Our Programs

We have created a core program of 6 modules we call “Understanding Human Nature”. Each module contributes to the training of everyday heroes in a profound and unique way. We differ from other approaches to social change in two major ways.

First, we focus on the dynamics of everyday social situations, rather than on the personalities and character traits of individuals, as important as they are.

Second, we don’t stigmatize our biases and automatic reactions to difficult situations. Rather, we see our tendencies to “watch and wait,” to “go along to get along.” and to make hasty judgments about others as normal and human.  In doing so, we reduce people’s defensiveness to their own instances of these normal behaviors, thus enabling them to more easily break free of them.

All of our programs combine rich academic content with engaging videos and hands-on activities that young people find surprisingly playful and that our clients —schools, colleges and youth (ages 13+) organizations—can tailor with us to fit their unique needs.


Help your audience overcome the social forces that can prevent them from taking action in unclear or emergency situations, and gain the skills to respond wisely and effectively.



Help your audience shift from a fixed mindset—a belief that one cannot change one’s abilities or personal characteristics such as intelligence—
toward a growth mindset—a belief that one can improve aspects of oneself with time and effort.

Social Conformity

Help your audience gain an increased awareness of their automatic tendencies to conform in social situations, and replace those tendencies with healthy behaviors.

Adaptive Attributions

Help your audience reduce or eliminate the effects of stereotype threat and unhealthy attributions on learning and performance.

Situational Awareness

Help your audience gain awareness of how group influence and situations affect decision-making, and strategies to address social situations mindfully

Prejudice and Group Perception

Help your audience gain awareness of their
tendency to make assumptions about other people and groups, and conversely gain resilience when they experience prejudice and discrimination from others.

Who we are

Board of Directors

Philip Zimbardo
Educator, Researcher, Hero Cultivator
Zoe Weil, Ph.D.
President of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE)
Matt Langdon
Founder of Hero Construction Company & Hero Round Table
Bill Roller
Founder Berkeley Group Education Foundation
Zeno Franco, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor - Medical College of Wisconsin

The Staff

Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D.
President & Founder
Vivian McCann
Executive Director Sustainability and Education

Cora Keene, M.Ed.
Executive Administrator & Project Director

Marielle Hanley

Melissa Shaffer
Social Media and Administrative Intern

Gemma Baumer
Administrative Assistant




For the first 50 schools to sign up the facilitator receives Hero In Training T-Shirt!

The What:

Host a screening and conversation about the Stanford Prison Experiment film based on the infamous psychology experiment created by Dr. Philip Zimbardo that inspired the work of the Heroic Imagination Project and encourage your students, school, or community to get involved in the effort to push back against evil and proliferate good in the world.

PLUS receive tools and information on how to become a #HeroInTraining in your school or community! Get your community involved with the Hero Toolkit  featuring interactive tools and resources for Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Taking ACTION!

The How:

Information to rent or buy the DVD for small groups or individuals can be found here: IFC Films - Stanford Prison Experiment

For campus life groups, we've teamed up with IFC films and Swank Motion Pictures to provide Colleges & Universities an exclusive discount for screening the Stanford Prison Experiment Film on campus! Participating schools will receive 20% off their schools contracted screening cost! Sign up and we will connect you with your Swank rep!

In addition, participating schools and groups will receive a #HeroInTraining educational package including:

  • Resources for professors and faculty to use in the classroom in conjunction with the film including academic articles, book chapters, and videos on the power of the situation, heroism, the bystander effect, and more!
  • Film and study FAQ sheet for follow-up conversations
  • Online community for students and faculty
  • Exclusive content from HIP and Dr. Zimbardo for use in your classroom!
  • +More!


Watch the Trailer:



Get involved and sign up for HiveQuest #HeroInTraining 30 day challenge NOW! Next challenge starts December 7th!

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Would you like a Hero In Training t-shirt of your own?

Support HIP with a donation of $50 or more through December 31st, 2015 and we will send you one!

Your gift goes directly toward supporting our programs and spreading heroism globally. We rely on our Everyday Heroes to support and spread our message and your donation is tax deductible!

Donate securely with PayPal or send check payable to:

Heroic Imagination Project to P.O. Box 423543 San Francisco, CA 94142.

Questions? Please contact us at

Collaborative Partnerships

HIP Sicily
PSI Beta
HIP Psi Beta

Merlot Partnership

Coming soon.

Our beloved Partners

Coming soon.

Social Media & Contact Info

YouTube Heroic Imagination TV