To what extent do the mouse utopia lessons apply to humans? In Calhoun's own words: "Our success in being human has so far derived from our honoring deviance more than tradition. These are fascinating questions that I am certainly not the first to ask. [Draft. Not having to work for food and shelter sounds appealing and compassionate, doesn’t it? Right? These mice, however, could not cope with unusual stimuli. This period between day 315 and day 600 saw a breakdown in social structure and in normal social behavior. His first published article was in The Migrant, the journal of the Tennessee Ornithological Society, when he was 15 years old. In the early 1960s, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) acquired property in a rural area outside Poolesville, Maryland. As to the other universes, it has been a long time since I read my father’s papers so I do not recall mention of the other universes. The “behavioral sink” of self-destructive conduct in Calhoun’s experiment (which he replicated on numerous subsequent occasions) has since been mostly interpreted as resulting from crowded conditions. Calhoun and his researchers came to call them “the Beautiful Ones.”. During the summers, he worked for Alexander Wetmore, head of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., doing ornithology work. Here’s how things would be if we didn’t play by the rules. Now we must search diligently for those cre… First Page. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1942 and 1943. Readers should view what I present here as a prod to thought and discussion and not much more. B. C. 1979. [1] In July 1968, four pairs of mice were introduced into the habitat. FOIA Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window), Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window), Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window), El experimento Calhoun: De utopía roedora a pesadilla absoluta - NeoTeo, Darkening Day: Air Pollution Films and Environmental Awareness, 1960–1972. B. Calhoun, 78, Researcher On Effects of Overpopulation", "Letting the rat out of the bag, The cultural influence of John B. Calhoun's rodent experiments",, CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of October 2020, Wikipedia articles with BIBSYS identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 31 October 2020, at 18:39. In Mouse City, Calhoun provided his research subjects food, water, bedding, protection from predators–all that they needed except adequate space. The Beautiful Ones of Universe 25, the Behavioural-Sink survivors, are no less selfish than the rampaging actors of McCarthy or Miller’s post-apocalyptic universes. National Library of Medicine, Series 1: Personal and Biographical, Jon Adams grew up in Britain and Saudi Arabia, and studied at Keele and Durham. Based on these experiments, Calhoun drew conclusions about human behavior in overcrowded conditions, such as high-density public housing. The young mice never observed such actions and never learned them. Among the aberrations in behavior were the following: expulsion of young before weaning was complete, wounding of young, increase in homosexual behavior, 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.[2][3]. His website is The second copy, dated May of that year, appears to be Calhoun’s recollection of the talk. Aberrations included the following: females abandoning their young; males no longer defending their territory; and both sexes becoming more violent and aggressive. Maybe, just maybe, personal growth in each mouse was inhibited by the welfare-state conditions in which they lived. “Fall, 1972. In fact, my loving domination is a condition for the free stuff. The film is one of several in the Library’s manuscript collections documenting Calhoun’s work and is currently highlighted in our Medicine on Screen project. John B. Calhoun Papers, National Library of Medicine (NLM), Bethesda, MD. During this period females ceased to reproduce. Soc. These mice show none of that trauma. They self-isolated, over-indulged themselves, or turned to violence. He then earned his M.S. What would happen if animals in the wild could count on human sources for their diet and never have to hunt or scrounge? Do you know if this book ( has that information? What if, in other words, we humans imposed a generous welfare state on our furry friends? n.p. It’s a place where bands of ragged survivors roam over a defoliated wasteland, their engagements marked by the expression of terrible violence and unchecked sexual aggression. History of Medicine Division. "V" shaped ramps connected pens I and II, II and III, and III and IV. The last surviving birth was on day 600, bringing the total population to a mere 2200 mice, even though the experiment setup allowed for as many as 3840 mice in terms of nesting space. The members of this group came from as diverse professions as architecture, city planning, physics, and psychiatry. Each room had a door for a researcher or caretaker to enter by, and in the ceiling of each room was a glass window. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. It transforms wild and healthy animals into habitual beggars. Its floor is a spindle of sixteen segments split by low dividers—just tall enough to keep mice from making contact, but not so high they can’t easily climb over. > History of Medicine Finding Aids Calhoun spent his junior high and high school years banding birds and recording the habits of birds. I am reminded, however, of these words from economist Thomas Sowell: “The welfare state shields people from the consequences of their own mistakes, allowing irresponsibility to continue and to flourish among ever wider circles of people.”. ( Log Out /  The only adversity was the limit on space. For what might happen aboard the airlocked Spaceship Earth; see Universe 25. The individual dies in spirit. 1950s. Edmund Ramsden is a Wellcome Trust University Award Lecturer in the history of science and medicine in the School of History, Queen Mary, University of London. 1960-1992, Series 8: Audiovisual and Computer Material, Or, if nothing else, ponder these prophetic words from one of the otherwise short-sighted, opportunistic architects of the American welfare state, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in 1935: The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. Med. The Life & Works of Population Researcher John B Calhoun. The rodent odor was overpowering, and it took some time before one could breathe normally. Scenes Include Last Survivors.” This is the text on the opening slate. In the film, Calhoun describes their arrested development: “They never learned to be aggressive, which is necessary in defense of home sites. Users will also find much information about NIH internal and external politics. Running time: 8:23 min, Published by NLM February 9, 2018 (US Army and John B. Calhoun, 1957) – Film of Calhoun’s experiment with Norway Rats in Towson, Maryland. In the mouse experiment, the individuals ultimately lost interest in the things that perpetuate the species. In any case, the two major problems of our time—nuclear war and the population explosion—are closely linked together.” Certainly, Calhoun was happy to use the language of apocalypse—quoting Revelations in the introduction to one paper from the time. Careers. He published his first paper on animal behavior at the age of 15, and then continued his study of animal behavior as a student of ethology, animal behavior, at the University of Virginia. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. But their particular brand of non-cooperation doesn’t involve destructive interference. Bethesda, MD 20894, Copyright Mounted on the wall in the corner of each quarter was an artificial burrow, which could be accessed via a spiral staircase. In two of the quarters the "burrows" were 3 feet (0.91 m) from the floor, and in the other two the "burrows" were 6 feet (1.8 m) from the floor. Miscellaneous Information, Awards, Conferences, Etc, 12.1958 Calculation of Home Range and Density of Small Animals, 5.20.1969 Thoughts following the Conservation Foundation’s Conservations, 1962 induced mass movements of small mammals,, 1977 looking backward from ‘the beautiful ones’, 1973 environmental design research and monitoring from an evolutionary perspective, 1974.4.1 Universal City of Ideas, Oxford UK, 1974.5.4 Universal City of Ideas-personal recollections. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. 1941-1994, Series 7: Negatives, Photographs, and Slides, Calhoun himself suggested a parallel to humanity: Herein is the paradox of a life without work or conflict. Moreover, the rats were not randomly scattered throughout the pen area, but had organized themselves into twelve or thirteen local colonies of a dozen rats each. Would the resulting experience offer any lessons for humans who might be subjected to similar conditions? John Calhoun wrote extensively. Research data, audio and video tapes and film, photographs and negatives, charts and graphs, and reprints document Dr. Calhoun's research activity at NIMH's Section on Behavioral Systems. At this time, he began attending meetings of the Tennessee Ornithological Society. roy. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O'Brien and published in 1971, was inspired by Calhoun's work. As Kubań notes. He spoke at conferences around the world and his opinion was sought by groups as diverse as NASA and the District of Columbia's Panel on overcrowding in local jails. MS C 586. Lots of grooming. 1909-1996, MS C 586 box 143, folder 1 Yet if this mouse enclosure modelled our own eventual demise, then it turns out the post-apocalypse of popular culture was only a transitional phase, a station on route to this strangely calm dystopia. Section on Behavioral Systems, Laboratory of Brain Evolution & Behavior, National Institute of Mental Health, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland 20014, USA.