Shock the Monkey: Virtual Torture

January 5, 2007 at 5:06 pm | Posted in Gaming | Leave a comment

Amazing. In a blog posting “Shock the avatar” Nicholas Carr reports that the Milgram experiments (where people administer what they believe are real shocks based on the guidance of authority figures) works on virtual humans too!

The participants in the [experiment] often behaved in a way that only made sense if they were responding to the virtual character as if she were real. For example, when she asked participants to speak louder, they invariably did so. The voices of some participants showed increasing frustration at her wrong answers. At times when the [avatar] vigorously objected, many turned to the experimenter sitting nearby and asked what they should do. The experimenter would say: ‘Although you can stop whenever you want, it is best for the experiment that you continue, but you can stop whenever you want.’ As we have seen some did stop before the end. Some giggled at the [avatar’s] protests, as was observed by Milgram in the original experiments. When the [avatar] failed to answer at the 28th and 29th questions, one participant repeatedly called out to her ‘Hello? Hello? …’ in a concerned manner, then turned to the experimenter, and seemingly worried said: ‘She’s not answering …’


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