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New Game Show: Contestants Believe That They're Electrocuting Each Other

(YouTube Link)

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.


Hmm... I'd been told that this experiment couldn't be replicated for ethical reasons, as the people who partook in the original experiment suffered psychological damage.
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That's right shockedspock, it can't be replicated by psychologists/scientists because their research propositions must be run past rigorous ethics committes that would never let that sh*t fly.
However unfortunately game shows don't have to answer to ethics committes like scientists do.
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I have understood that this show was part of a whole French documentary and that this whole thing was set up from the getgo as not just any other show on French tv, but only embedded in that documentary.

Funkycpaman just as are the Americans, the Iraqese, the Chinese or anyone else on this planet.

I wonder if those contestants got any after-care after that show. Because it would be psychologically quite devastating, unsettling and earthshattering to make such a discovery about oneself. What happens with you when you just discovered that you are just as guilty and weak and contemptible as all those warcriminals and sadists that you loathe and dissapprove of so much...?

These experiments do show that it can happen to anyone of us just as easily.
It is very easy to sit at the sideline and scream that they do it all wrong. But what about us? I wouldn't be so sure that I would do the rigt thing when I would be in such circumstances in reallife under pressure.....
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The producer wanted to make a few points at the same time:
1: people will do horrible things if they have orders from authorities.
2: TV has this kind of authority in our society.
3: In the race to get big audiences, TV-shows will stage more and more horrible things.

In fact, some 20% of the participants stopped and walked out when they were shocked by the situation they found themselves trapped in.
Most of the participants argued and felt very uneasy, but were pushed to continue by the show leader.

So I think he did not make his first point: no participant pushed the switch smiling. Maybe he made his second point, but participants said they felt trapped by this enormous and costly organisation which is TV.
He sure made his third point all by himself.
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For information, the show was presented to the participants as a pilot : "Nothing to win, we are just testing a new show".
And at the end of a game, psychologists were here to speak with each participant and to explain them what's going one. They don't let them go.

The result of this experiment was diffused on French TV this week but not as a show but as a documentary. And after it, a discussion about it was organized with media experts, psychologists, historians,... The subjects were about "How and why human can be so easily manipulated by an authority?" and "How far television can go in their shows?".

And of course, the experiment was based and the Milgram's one.

I suppose that one of the aim of this experiment was to prove that the television has gained an enormous power and can have a real impact on spectators.

The second part of this documentary was diffused yesterday with the title "Available brain time". It come from a sentence of the director of the first French TV channel, TF1. He said: "What we sold to Coca-Cola is available human brain time". This second part of the documentary explain how TV shows evolved in the past years for a main goal: Audience. But to gain audience, the shows are more and more "trash" and ethic has been thrown away.

For anything you do, don't let others switch off your brain and use it every where you can, even reading this comment :)
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If they didn't know about it then, it's about time they learned about it now. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. I'm sure wavers were handed out to save themselves from lawsuits.

It’s unfortunate that only 20% of the people walked out of the experiment this time, but considering the audience and the event, it doesn’t surprise me it’s that low. Don't shed tears for those that obey to the bitter end without question; they shed enough for themselves after they see what they have done.


Do you honestly think that them being French was the reason why they followed through with it?
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I'm also wondering how none of these people had heard of Milgram's experiment, even if only knowing what it was about, not the results or reason.
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in the original milgram video there are 5 people

only one of them went all the way to the experiment

how does this conclude people are cruel and heartless? it's like people can't even understand numbers.

the one person who did go all the way to the end of the experiment was an unemployed old man who really needed the money

this video is interesting, i will show it to my associate who is currently doing work on this history of this experiment and it's rampant misinterpretation.
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@Damon55: He made the first point just fine. The point was that people would do it, not that they would enjoy it. That none of them "pushed the switch smiling" is not contrary to that.

@c0ldfish: I'm not sure what you mean about the first Milgram "video," but more than 5 people were put through the test, and more than 1 in 5 (still 20%!) participated. Unless you mean only a small fraction was willing to go all the way to the max voltage, but that's being a little too dismissive of the implications of the experiment.
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@c0ldfish, I'm with Tempscire.
It appears that you are the one "rampantly misinterpreting" the Milgram experiment.
I'm not sure what "video" you are talking about, but in the original experiment 26 (65%) out of a total of 40 participants went all the way to the maximum voltage. You can read it for yourself in Milgram's article "The Perils of Obedience" published in 1974.
The experiment was replicated many times in varyious conditions e.g. with the experimenter not revealing any links to Yale (to see if the prestigiousness of the college may have contributed to the obedience), and even in a condition where the participant was required to manually force the "learner's" hand onto a plate that supposedly delivers the shock. In the latter conditon, 30% of people still completed the experiment.
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This is pretty unethical. They aren't proving anything - the results of the experiment had already been shown in the Milgram experiment years ago. They knew what would happen and are using the subject's reactions and pain for entertainment.

As people have mentioned above, the subjects in the Milgram experiment had psychological impacts that probably bothered them for years to come. Why do that to someone for entertainment?
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