Row over 'torture' on French TV

A disturbing French TV documentary has tried to demonstrate how well-meaning people can be manipulated into becoming torturers or even executioners.

The hugely controversial Game of Death was broadcast in prime-time on a major terrestrial channel, France 2, on Wednesday.

It showed 80 people taking part in what they thought was a game show pilot.

As it was only a trial, they were told they wouldn't win anything, but they were given a nominal 40 euro fee.

Before the show, they signed contracts agreeing to inflict electric shocks on other contestants.

One by one, they were put in a studio resembling the sets of popular game shows.

They were then asked to zap a man they believed was another contestant whenever he failed to answer a question correctly - with increasingly powerful shocks of up to 380 volts.

Blind obedience

Egged on by a glamorous presenter, cries of "punishment" from a studio audience and dramatic music, the overwhelming majority of the participants obeyed orders to continue delivering the shocks - despite the man's screams of agony and pleas for them to stop.

Eventually he fell silent, presumably because he had died or lost consciousness.

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Something like this has already been done. People who have studied psychology would know.

In Milgram's study, three people experienced full-blown seizures.... that's what you call an experiment! However, stuff like this wouldn't be allowed today because of ethics.