The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures conducted by Stanley Milgram, which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience.
The participants of this experiment were deceived into believing they were administering painful electrical shocks of increasing intensity to other participants who made repeated errors on a learning task. In this experiment, 37 out of 40 participants administered the full range of shocks up to 450 volts. Thus, according to Milgram, the subject shifts responsibility to another person and does not blame himself for what happens. This resembles real-life incidents in which people see themselves as merely cogs in a machine, just "doing their job," allowing them to avoid responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
Here is the experiment (Youtube video Pt 1/3, Pt 2/3, Pt 3/3)
The results of this experiment are very important in order to understand how humans behave and how much vulnerable are on obedience of an authority figure. One such example of real life is the actions of the Nazis during WWII. The most important conclusion is that this kind of behavior can be repeated easily in real life and one such recent example is the incident of the turn a class of students into racists on obedience to their teacher (Replicability). That happened in 1967 in a school of California with the result of the death of one student. This incident is described in detail in the film Die Welle (The wave) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FYDF8wGn5E&feature=related.
Although this experiment was classed as highly unethical as it caused stress to the participants in the study, I believe that it worth performing it. If the society has taken more seriously its results the incident in the school of California might have been avoided.
Das Experiment (The Experiment)