A U.S. psychologist says the new reality show "Kid Nation" could end up like "Lord of the Flies" if the adult film crew wasn't around.

The CBS reality series challenges a group of 8- to 15-year-old children to build an adult-free society in a deserted New Mexico town in 40 days.

Critics have chided producers for subjecting kids to long hours and hazardous conditions, both claims the network has vehemently denied.

Dr. Gregg Steinberg said the show asks the same basic questions as the novel, "Lord of the Flies," with one major difference: The show has adults overseeing the action.

If the adults disappeared and the reality show experiment continued, the results could be as stark and violent as the conclusion of William Golding's book.

"Children do not have the cognitive abilities to grasp discipline, hard work, and integrity," Steinberg said in a statement. "Without parents to guide them down the right path, we would see tragic consequences with bullying turning into more savagery and lack of discipline turning into to utter chaos."

A frequent contributor to television news programs, Steinberg is also an associate professor of sports psychology at Austin Peay State University.