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Milgram's Experiment — the TV Show 13

vieux schnock writes "A controversy has arisen over a French television show reproducing Milgram's experiment in front of a live audience. Milgram's original experiment wanted to show the willingness of study participants to 'obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience.' But this time, it seems that television can play that deadly 'authority' figure with more devastating results: While Milgran got 65% of the participants to hit the maximum jolt button, '[in] the final tally, 81 percent of the contestants turned up the juice to the maximum.'"


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Milgram's Experiment — the TV Show

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  • They should have the contestant watch a man killing kittens. The purpose will be to find out how many people will actually get up out of their chair to save the kitten, despite their concern that if they saved the kitten the show would be spoiled.

    I bet everybody would just sit there watching kittens get slaughtered.

    • Sadly, I don't think you're far off the mark there. I am not a member of PETA or anything like that but the thing that really irritates me about animal abuse is the animal can not speak up in its own defense.
      • I am not a member of PETA or anything like that but the thing that really irritates me about animal abuse is the animal can not speak up in its own defense.

        That's it in a nutshell. Thanks to PETA, if anyone says they're for the humane treatment of animals - anyone listening these days might assume that you're one of these nutbags.

        It's a shame that we all have to issue a disclaimer when we say we're against animal abuse.

    • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 )
      There's a flaw in the analysis of the story - he attributes the greater rate of people willing to kill on order to the power of television. I'd like to know how he controlled for the selection bias of people inclined to go on game shows. I'd also be interested to know how people of modern western culture compare to people at the time Milgram did his original experiments. Have people become more obedient?
  • There are multiple factors here. One is that TV's involved.

    The other is that this is a measurement of the French...

  • Well. (Score:2, Informative)

    That explains democracy a bit too well.

    • That explains the French government better than any sociologic explanation. Everyone wants to be a "winner", even if you're a hopeless loser actually.

  • Every day, people routinely report for work where they will be told to do things that vary from clearly OK to nonsensical to outright immoral. They do them with little complaint and then go home. Why not televise it?

    The few cases where someone stands up and says "I won't do this, it is wrong" AND has enough authority to not be simply fired are rare enough to be considered newsworthy.

  • The experience, he said, continued to effect participants even after it was over. Some grew bolder about standing up to their bosses, or admitted their homosexuality to their families, he said.

    Can’t we get them straight even when we’re journalists paid to know better?

    Stupid question, I guess.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.