The Game of Death

CNN just recently reported on a game show in France that will be used in a documentary to determine the different ways human beings react to participating and/ or witnessing pain.  The Game of Death utilizes a familiar tactic from a 1960’s experiment, where individuals under pressure would inflict pain in the form of an electric shock on another to better their own interests.

In both the experiment and game show, participants are asked various questions and depending on if their answers are correct or not, determines the fate of the person being shocked.  The victim would only be shocked if the contestant/ participant were wrong, and they would be shocked at an increasing rate for every wrong answer by their paired contestant. The experiment was a unique method for understanding the way people learn to obey.

So if this experiment proved to be successful the first time around, why did French networks have to almost exploit it by broadcasting a fake game show? Was it truly for the documentary they claimed? Or did they just do it for the entertainment value in hoping to literally shock viewers?


5 thoughts on “The Game of Death

  1. It seems like whoever was directing this documentary wanted to get the full effect of people’s reaction to the situation. It opened up the experiment to an audience whereas the initial experiment was only known to those running it and the participants. With an audience there it seems the contestants are more willing to risk shocking someone with backing from others. The audience cheered them on and maybe the contestants didn’t weigh the consequences as thoroughly as if they were by themselves. The were essentially peered pressured. It’s like the idea that with more people around one will less likely step up and help someone who is hurt in public. If that person is alone and sees a hurt individual they will be more likely to help that person. I feel that the desire to be part of a community is so strong that sometimes people will compromise their own morals and beliefs to conform to it.

  2. I have to agree with you that this show is not proving its point clearly with an audience. The Milgrim experiment was for people to be influenced by an authority figure and not by an audience. So I do not know if this show is comparable to that experiment since there is an audience.

  3. This is hilarious to me because I am pretty sure that experiment was the reason many, MANY laws are now in place for experimenting on people.

    You can call it a “documentary” all you want, but all it is is a giant experiment. I thought France was supposed to be completely pro-privacy laws. Witnessing, reacting to, and perceiving death seems like one of the most private things a person can experience.

  4. I think that this idea was well demonstrated in the Milgram experiment and that they are using it in a lot of ways because they are assuming their audience will not be familiar with it and therefore be intrigued. I also agree with Carla’s point that I could see this being something aired in the U.S. but i am shocked that Europe would allow this to air. I also think that although the audience members as individuals are not an authority, but that as a group they would play the same type of authoritative effect on the participants.

  5. I agree with ally that the group effect really plays a role as to how influential they will be in someone else’s actions. I am completely astonished this show would even be allowed to air aswell! Then again the way the media has become, almost all shows on TV have to have a bit of drama to reel in the ratings! And what “new” evidence could this game show provide regarding people’s reaction to inflicting and recieving pain, that we don’t already understand/know? I don’t see th relavance of this documentary at all. Hopefully they will clarify it for us once they finish their “experiment.”

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