In 1961, Yale psychology professor Stanley Milligram undertook a now famous experiment to see if average Americans would blindly follow the cues of an authority figure and perform violent acts on innocent victims.
It turned out they would.
Fifty years later, Eli Roth, the director of horror films like “Cabin Fever” and “Hostel” star of the ultraviolent “Inglourious Basterds,” has re-created Milligram’s controversial study, in which a person administers greater and greater electric shocks on a total stranger, just because someone tells them to.
Roth’s performs the experiment in How Evil Are You?,” part of the Discovery Channel’s “Curiosity’ series, which airs Sunday.
“I’ve always been fascinated by what people do. It comes from my Jewish upbringing and so much Holocaust education. My dad’s books were like “The Nazi Doctors” and at dinner, my dad would be like, ‘The Nazis did this and that,’ and you think, ‘How did this happen? How can people do this?’” Roth told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “I remember seeing footage from the Milligram experiment where people were shocking each other because a scientist told them to, it just showed what people will do when there is an authority figure telling them to do something horrible.”
In the special, Roth used several different types of people as testing subjects, and subjected himself to extensive brain testing, scans, and full genetic sequencing on his DNA to determine if he carries what researches refer to as “the evil gene.”