Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Scientist in white lab coat: 62% Perky reality TV show host: 82%

A French producer has created a one-episode reality TV show based on the Milgram experiments. (Here's a Salon article and a Agence France-Presse story). The kicker: while Milgram could only get 62% of his subjects to deliver a lethal shock, the reality TV show got 82% compliance: apparently lethal shocks delivered before a cheering crowd. There are a lot obvious of reasons for this. The crowd has to help a lot. Also, the subjects were not randomly selected--they were self selected fame hounds. Finally, I think we have to recognize that perky reality TV show hosts hold an awesome amount of authority in our society.

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