In the 1960s, Yale psychology researcher Stanley Milgram conducted a series of experiments in which participants were instructed to deliver dangerous electrical shocks to people. This was staged, and no one was in actual danger, but the experiment suggested that normal people will do horrible things if told to do so by authority figures. Perhaps inspired by that experiment, a French TV production company created a game show with that theme:
The aim of the experiment is to show how the manipulative power of television can push people to ever more outrageous limits.
A team of psychologists recruited 80 volunteers, telling them they were taking part in a pilot for a new television show.
They were instructed to pose questions to another "player", and punish him with up to 460 volts of electricity when he got answers wrong.
Not knowing that the screaming victim was really an actor, the apparently reluctant contestants yielded to the orders of the presenter and audience, who also believed the game was real.