March 19, 2010
Posted: 228 GMT

Earlier today, Vanderbilt University psychiatry professor Paul Ragan spoke to Hala about a French documentary in which contestants in a fake game show believed they were shocking fellow players with near fatal jolts of electricity.

How far will people go if egged on by an encouraging audience? Why did most contestants follow orders and pull levers they believed were hurting perfect strangers? And why did some of the participants say no to hurting others when most went through with the experiment?

Take a look at the interview and leave your comments!

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A. Smith, Oregon   March 19th, 2010 9:39 pm ET

Some 30 years ago, colleges routinely taught in the mid to higher level classes in Psychology this sick deviant social psychology experiment which was a direct off-shoot of the massive CIA mind control experiments. The CIA spent billions of dollars in their efforts to push a layperson into ever deviant behavior without any compulsion whatsoever. The CIA goal was to create the ideal Manchurian Candidate that later could not recant nor remember what he/she had done.

After the horrific Republican led administration of Bush-Cheney it's possible that American colleges have been quietly advised to stop including that 'history' in their psychology classes. Which is entirely possible as much of the public watching that faux game show had no idea it was a hoax. Isn't it ironic that such terrible evil experiments that have historically taken place and historically recorded are purposefully buried and purposefully forgotten?

Americans are routinely taught that only happens with Chinese History vs Facts. Sadly, America actively does this to its history as well.

nimitz benedicto   March 20th, 2010 12:37 am ET

don't need no complicated explanation.
of course, the audience knows it's all make believe.

who/what network will take the risk of getting sued for multi-millions ?
they aren't that stupid.

only mentally unstable dudes believe that's for real.

Muthyavan.   March 20th, 2010 12:43 am ET

Today's experiment dealing with psychotic reaction on audience dealing with a TV death games demonstrate a real behavior in humans action when acting under the influence of mass instinct of an unruly crowds. It happens some time soon after when winning a real game in sports in the form of a riots in properties are damaged an even burn dawn. A good player in a real games always is a balance sports man or women who is not anyway carried by audience reactions when in action. He will observe all rules carefully and take care not to harm his opponents even a bit.

These psychiatric experiments needs to be focused on developing a new human societies and educational systems free of all violence and mass mad collective reactions. These short of mass behaviors some time happens even in voting to select a legislator in state elections. Because some short of a sudden political instinct among many a bad selection is made and the nation suffer as a result of it for many years to come.

Paul   March 20th, 2010 11:47 am ET

I, too, am surprised that they didn't explore the possibility that the contestants suspected or knew that the whole thing was fake. I learned about the Milgrom experiments in an intro to Psychology class in high school. It's not exactly top secret information. Even if the contestants didn't specifically know about those historical experiments, common sense tells you that they won't let you seriously injure another human being on a game show.

Srinidhi Boray   March 21st, 2010 3:49 am ET

Similar experiment was conducted called Stanford Prison experiment based on Lucifer effect. The "game of death" is a metaphorical representation of certain characteristics quite rampant in any form of institution that is run in a dogmatic way. Normally ambitious and high achieving institutions resort to methods that are lacking in empathy and are indifferent to finer human sensibilities.

"In the year 1971, Zimbardo accepted a tenured position as professor of psychology at Stanford University. There he conducted the Stanford prison study, in which 24 normal college students were randomly assigned to be "prisoners" or "guards" in a mock prison located in the basement of the psychology building at Stanford (three additional college students were selected as alternates, but did not participate in the study). The two week planned study into the psychology of prison life ended only after 6 days due to emotional trauma being experienced by the participants. The students quickly began acting out their roles, with "guards" becoming sadistic and "prisoners" showing extreme passivity and depression."

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