The Full Wiki

More info on Behavioral sink

Behavioral sink: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In 1958, ethologist John B. Calhoun conducted over-population experiments on rats on a farmland in Rockville, Maryland which resulted in the publication of an article in the Scientific American of a study of behavior under conditions of overcrowding (Calhoun 1962), also referred to Crowding into the Behavioral Sink . This study that had a considerable influence (Ramsden & Adams 2009) has become a touchstone of urban sociology and psychology in general (Hock 2004); the term has passed into common use.

Calhoun provided a cage of rats with food and water replenished to support any increase in population, but the cage was fixed at a size considered sufficient for only 50 rats. Population peaked at 80 rats and thereafter exhibited a variety of abnormal, often destructive behaviors; his conclusion was that space itself is a necessity. Subsequent studies involving humans have shown it is not mere lack of space that causes the behavioral sink; it is the necessity for community members to interact with one another. When forced interactions exceed some threshold, social norms break down. Thus social density is considered more critical than geometric spatial density.

Notable conditions in the behavioral sink include hyperaggression, failure to breed and nurture young normally, infant cannibalism, increased mortality at all ages, and abnormal sexual patterns. Often, population peaks, then crashes. Actual physical disease, mental illness, and psychosomatic disorders increase. There are eating disorders; in human populations, drug and alcohol use rises.

The only known counter to the effect of the behavioral sink is to reduce the frequency and intensity of social interaction.

See also




Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address