From Wikipedia (John C Calhoun)
In the early 1960s, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) acquired property in a rural area outside Poolesville, Maryland. The facility that was built on this property housed several research projects, including those headed by Calhoun. It was here that his most famous experiment, the mouse universe, was created. In July 1968 four pairs of mice were introduced into the Utopian universe. The universe was a 9-foot (2.7 m) square metal pen with 54-inch-high (1.4 m) sides. Each side had four groups of four vertical, wire mesh “tunnels.” The “tunnels” gave access to nesting boxes, food hoppers, and water dispensers. There was no shortage of food or water or nesting material. There were no predators. The only adversity was the limit on space.
Initially the population grew rapidly, doubling every 55 days. The population reached 620 by day 315, after which the population growth dropped markedly. The last surviving birth was on day 600. This period between day 315 and day 600 saw a breakdown in social structure and in normal social behavior. Among the aberrations in behavior were the following: expulsion of young before weaning was complete, wounding of young, inability of dominant males to maintain the defense of their territory and females, aggressive behavior of females, passivity of non-dominant males with increased attacks on each other which were not defended against. After day 600, the social breakdown continued and the population declined toward extinction. During this period females ceased to reproduce. Their male counterparts withdrew completely, never engaging in courtship or fighting. They ate, drank, slept, and groomed themselves – all solitary pursuits. Sleek, healthy coats and an absence of scars characterized these males. They were dubbed “the beautiful ones.”
The conclusions drawn from this experiment were that when all available space is taken and all social roles filled, competition and the stresses experienced by the individuals will result in a total breakdown in complex social behaviors, ultimately resulting in the demise of the population.
Calhoun saw the fate of the population of mice as a metaphor for the potential fate of man. He characterized the social breakdown as a “second death,” with reference to the “second death” mentioned in the Biblical book of Revelation 2:11 His study has been cited by writers such as Bill Perkins as a warning of the dangers of the living in an “increasingly crowded and impersonal world.”
From Wikipedia (Behavioral_sink)
Controversy exists over the implications of the experiment (the mouse experiment). Psychologist Jonathan Freedman’s experiment recruited high school and university students to carry out a series of experiments that measured the effects of density on behavior. He measured their stress, discomfort, aggression, competitiveness, and general unpleasantness. He declared to have found no appreciative negative effects in 1975. Researchers argued that “Calhoun’s work was not simply about density in a physical sense, as number of individuals-per-square-unit-area, but was about degrees of social interaction.”
In the last post, we learned about learned helplessness and the parallels with modern men. To summarize, learned helplessness comes from a sense that no matter what one does, the outcome is random (and mostly bad). Looking at the above experiment, we see that the males withdrew among themselves completely (MMGTOW Male Mice Going Their Own Way) after day 600. This was after the social order broke down. Before this time, the social order was under stress, and the male mice probably learned that no matter what they did, things seems fruitless with respect to fitting into the social order (fighting did not seem to work, and neither did passivity). This appears to be learned helplessness in action.
As for the female mice, what did they do as social order was breaking down? That would be, expulsion of young before weaning was complete, along with generally aggressive behavior. This really does not seem to be effective maternal behavior. Why would they do it? It is as if they were not really mothers, but females in the strict sense of the term (those that bear the young). I am at a loss to explain such behavior, but we see equivalents among modern day women.
Now consider the last excerpt from Wikipedia. The researcher suggests that the independent variable is not so much population density, as it is breakdown of social structure. Think about that for a moment.