The Human Zoo (2000– )

Brief Encounters 

We are all amateur psychologists, because most of what we do is designed to influence what others think of us. What do people look for when sizing up others during an initial meeting? How ... See full summary »


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Episode credited cast:
Mark McDermott Mark McDermott ... Himself - Consultant
Philip Zimbardo ... Himself - Consultant
Dilly Barlow Dilly Barlow ... Herself - Narrator
Charlie Skelton Charlie Skelton ... Actors
Chris Cresswell ... Actors
Valeria Fabbri Valeria Fabbri ... Actors
Ruth Glaser Ruth Glaser ... Actors
Melvin Garcia Melvin Garcia ... Actors
Rebecca Lisi Rebecca Lisi ... Actors
Marcus Moser Marcus Moser ... Actors
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dominic Abrams Dominic Abrams ... Himself
Mandy Card Mandy Card ... Herself
Pete Edmunds Pete Edmunds ... Bridegroom
Jane Elliott Jane Elliott ... Herself - Racism Scholar
Mark G. Frank Mark G. Frank ... Himself


We are all amateur psychologists, because most of what we do is designed to influence what others think of us. What do people look for when sizing up others during an initial meeting? How do these judgments influence their conduct? And how far will they go to hit it off? This program analyzes the subtle dynamics of meeting new people as Day One in the Human Zoo unfolds. In addition, other researchers explore the impact of first impressions at a job interview, how physical attractiveness affects success, the parameters of personal space, and facial expressions associated with deceit. Dr. Mark McDermott and Dr. Phil Zimbardo used hidden cameras to observe how a group of strangers will interact during the first day of what the subjects know is a psychological experiment. Immediate friendships and hostilities are watched by the professors; these scenes are inter-cut with other researchers exploring such dynamics as the impact of first impressions at a job interview and how physical ... Written by

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis







Release Date:

11 May 2000 (UK) See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

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Did You Know?


Twelve people were chosen to participate in The Human Zoo experiment. Their last names are not given, except inadvertently for one, whose name can be heard spoken in an opening scene. Participants were allowed to give optional, after-the-event interviews. Those who participated (first names only) are: Amanda ; Amit, a smart American student studying in London who becomes spokesman for the B Team ; Caroline, the first to arrive, who runs her own salon and enjoys ordering others about ; Dave Jones, a tall, articulate man with good insights into psychology and sociology ; George, an educated blond man who becomes good friends with Kathryn, although on Days 2 and 3 they are put on opposite teams ; Julia, the one black woman, who sticks up for the rights of the underdog and is articulate and brave ; Kathryn, a sweet blonde young woman who wants to befriend and placate everyone, and is not afraid to hug people and say "I love you" ; Michael ; Richard, at 41 the oldest of the group, who is subtly but purposefully made to feel an outsider from the very beginning by the psychologists, but who manages to ingratiate himself into the group by stealing beers from the kitchen and passing them around (oh, and he dislikes George from the outset) ; Sharon ; Sian, a tall, pretty woman who does not speak often but is excellent at cooking ; Thomas, who is recognized by all as a handsome young man. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: In a life-time, we encounter thousands of people, and whether we know it or not, we judge them instantly. Every waking minute, we are interpreting the detail of human behavior: a glance, a gesture, a smile. We're all amateur psychologists. We have to be. Psychologists say much of what we do as individuals is designed to influence what others think of us. But how important are first impressions?
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