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Escaping the Laboratory

Psychology history calhoun John Calhoun mouse utopia social engineering

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#11 RottenApples

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 03:17 PM

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#12 status - Guest

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 03:31 PM

Is that the cat universe setting traps for the mice?

 

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#13 Ghost in the Machine

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 03:21 PM

 

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Universe 25 was a giant box designed to be a rodent utopia. The trouble was, this utopia did not have a benevolent creator. John B. Calhoun had designed quite a few mouse environments before he got to the 25th one, and didn't expect to be watching a happy story. Divided into "main squares" and then subdivided into levels, with ramps going up to "apartments," the place looked great, and was always kept stocked with food, but its inhabitants were doomed from the get-go.
 
Today, the experiment remains frightening, but the nature of the fear has changed. A recent study pointed out that Universe 25 was not, if looked at as a whole, too overcrowded. Pens, or "apartments" at the very end of each hallway had only one entrance and exit, making them easy to guard. This allowed more aggressive territorial males to limit the number mice in that pen, overcrowding the rest of the world, while isolating the few "beautiful ones" who lived there from normal society. Instead of a population problem, one could argue that Universe 25 had a fair distribution problem.
 
The fact remains that it had a problem, and one that eventually led to its destruction. If this behavior is shared by both mice and humans, can we escape Universe 25's fate?
 

 

 

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#14 status - Guest

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 01:00 PM

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#15 Lord Potato

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 07:28 PM

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#16 MrChips

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 12:25 PM

John Calhoun’s Behavioral Sink experiment was undoubtedly one of the most discussed during the 1970s. It is still highly relevant today when the effects of overpopulation are discussed. With his “rat utopias”, Calhoun proved that overpopulation is not a problem because it leads to a scarcity of resources – overpopulation is a problem in itself. It results in violence, a rejection of social roles and the eventual breakdown of society.
 
This breakdown of society and social roles was named the “Behavioral Sink.” Calhoun believed it came about when there were too many mice and a lack of important social roles for each one to play. 
 
Many people believed that the behavior of Calhoun’s mice and the Behavioral Sink could be extrapolated to humans. The connection between a breakdown of social bonds and violence was observed by Emile Durkheim in the late 19th century. In traditional societies, where family expectations and religion held sway, people enjoyed strong social bonds and had distinct social roles to fill. However, as they moved to cities, they found they were fighting for a place in society. In exasperation and a state of helplessness, many fell into poverty or turned to crime, violence and even suicide.
 
However, it is not clear that a high population density necessarily leads to a breakdown of society and social roles. Humans might be able, with our ingenuity and almost unlimited demands, to create social roles for everyone and avoid the Behavioral Sink. Some critics, such as psychologist Jonathan Freedam, suggested that it was not the density of population that overwhelmed the mice but the large number of social interactions they had to deal with. Humans are able to avoid this, even while living in a highly dense area.
 
 
easter_island_moai_mouse_pad-r3c1734ca9b
 
Notice how the evolution of the behaviours displayed by the mice, parallel those of the people of Easter Island, as explored by Quintus Curtius in his ROK article The Power Of Choice. The people of Easter Island are a historical example of a human version of the mice utopia experiment:
 
“When humans first arrived there about A.D 900, it [Easter Island] was densely forested, and was capable of sustaining numerous tribes and a relatively high population.”
 
The conditions of the islanders were similar to that of Calhoun’s mice. On an isolated island, with a lush environment, a group of humans settlers arrived on boats to Easter Island. The settlers could thrive with almost endless resources without natural predators nor external factors of stress.
 
With time, the island became over populated. Quintus explains what befell the Islanders:
 
“The islanders then began to compete with each other more and more fiercely for an ever-declining volume of natural resources; vendettas multiplied, intertribal warfare flared, and a pall of hostility and fear descended on the island. As the trees vanished, the islanders were unable to build boats to escape to other islands: they became trapped in their own hell, doomed to fight each other in perpetuity for the last crumbs that the barren land could offer. Eventually the islanders began to starve, and feed—literally—off each other. As wild meats became unavailable, and escape off the island became impossible, the natural consequences followed. Cannibalism stalked the island, animating its folklore and infecting its archaeological sites. Perhaps the islanders compensated for their misery by focusing more and more on the empty ritual of building and raising statutes, as their means of sustenance melted away.”
 
This is reminiscent of the ”behavioural sink” observed in the mouse utopia. It also resembles the abhorrent behaviours observed in Calhoun’s experiments resemble several shocking stories from recent times. Is it be possible that it’s social decay rather than a shortage of food that led the people of Easter Island  to near extinction?
 

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Good Morning!

 

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Posted Yesterday, 12:21 PM

Bear in mind that the mice were taken out of their natural environment and subjected to a controlled inner universe. What universe do the social engineers live in?

 

Calhoun's experiment is akin to the flat earth debate being bandied about the CT scene. The whole earth could be seen as a controlled environment. Along with all the resources to support a 'utopia'. Just like the mice people cannot leave the 'box'. The whole is broken up into different social groups. Each with their own way of doing things. Each wanting what another group has. Fighting one another until the whole eats itself inside out.

 

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