This is from a news report of a paper I’ve not yet seen:
More than two-thirds of volunteers in the research study had to be stopped from administering 150 volt shocks of electricity, despite hearing a person’s cries of pain, professor Jerry M. Burger concluded in a study published in the January issue of the journal American Psychologist.
“In a dramatic way, it illustrates that under certain circumstances people will act in very surprising and disturbing ways,” said Burger.
The study, using paid volunteers from the southern San Francisco Bay area, is similar to the famous 1974 “obedience study” by the late Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram. In the wake of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann’s trial, Milgram was troubled by the willingness of people to obey authorities – even if it conflicted with their own conscience.
Maybe we’ll have a closer look when the paper materializes. In the mean time, you can read about it here.