Document Detail

From rodent utopia to urban hell: population, pathology, and the crowded rats of NIMH.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22448542     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Process    
In a series of experiments at the National Institute of Mental Health, the animal ecologist John B. Calhoun offered rats everything they needed, except space. The resulting population explosion was followed by a series of "social pathologies"--violence, sexual deviance, and withdrawal. This essay examines the influence of Calhoun's experiments among psychologists and sociologists concerned with the effects of the built environment on health and behavior. Some saw evidence of the danger of the crowd in Calhoun's "rat cities" and fastened on a method of analysis that could be transferred to the study of urban man. Others, however, cautioned against drawing analogies between rodents and humans. The ensuing dispute saw social scientists involved in a careful negotiation over the structure and meaning of Calhoun's experimental systems and, with it, over the significance of the crowd in the laboratory, institution, and city.
Edmund Ramsden
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Isis; an international review devoted to the history of science and its cultural influences     Volume:  102     ISSN:  0021-1753     ISO Abbreviation:  Isis     Publication Date:  2011 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-03-27     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2985182R     Medline TA:  Isis     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  659-88     Citation Subset:  IM; QIS    
Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter, Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter EX4 4RJ, United Kingdom.
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Grant Support
//Wellcome Trust

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