Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Circling the Behavioral Drain

Lab rats

The term “behavioral sink” was coined by the research psychologist John B. Calhoun to describe the behavior of rats and mice under conditions of severe overcrowding. During his animal behavior studies at the National Institute of Mental Health in the 1950s and early 1960s Calhoun observed pathological changes in social behavior among rats who were allowed to breed in an environment free of any adverse conditions except the confined dimensions of their living space.

Sociation Today gives a concise summary of Calhoun’s findings:

Animal studies made famous by Calhoun (1962) show that crowding in the animal world results in what he calls the behavioral sink. Normal behavior and reproductive habits fail. Aggressive behavior increases when density passes a certain point as animals compete for resources. In the experience of the reviewer, those who deny any possible connection between any human behavior simply say that humans are not animals so there can be nothing learned from animal experiments. However, human animals do seem to exhibit much lower fertility rates in cities than is true in rural areas.

Carla Garnett describes Calhoun’s work in somewhat more detail at the NIH website:

Working at NIMH in 1954, Calhoun launched several experiments with rats and mice. In his first series of tests, he placed 32 to 56 rodents in a 10- by 14-foot case in a barn on a Montgomery County farm. Using electrified partitions, he divided the space into four rooms. Each was designed to support 12 adult brown Norway rats. Rats could move between the rooms only via the ramps he built. Because Calhoun provided unlimited water and food as well as protection from predators, disease and weather, the critters were said to be in “rat utopia” or “mouse paradise”…

[…]

He described the onset of several pathologies: violence and aggression, with rats in the crowded pen “going berserk, attacking females, juveniles and less-active males.” There was also “sexual deviance.” Rats became hypersexual, pursuing females relentlessly even when not in heat.

The mortality rate among females was extremely high. A large proportion of the population became bisexual, then increasingly homosexual, and finally asexual. There was a breakdown in maternal behavior. Mothers stopped caring for their young, stopped building a nest for them and even began to attack them, resulting in a 96 percent mortality rate in the two crowded pens. Calhoun coined a term — “behavioral sink” — to describe the decay.

A paper by Edmund Ramsden and Jon Adams for the Centre for Medical History offers further explanation:

With no predators and with exposure to disease kept at a minimum, Calhoun described his experimental universes as “rat utopia,” “mouse paradise.” With all their visible needs met, the animals bred rapidly. The only restriction Calhoun imposed on his population was of space — and as the population grew, this became increasingly problematic. As the pens heaved with animals, one of his assistants described rodent “utopia” as having become “hell.”

Males became aggressive, some moving in groups, attacking females and the young. Mating behaviors were disrupted. Some males became exclusively homosexual. Others became pansexual and hypersexual, attempting to mount any rat they encountered. Mothers neglected their infants, first failing to construct proper nests, and then carelessly abandoning and even attacking their pups. In certain sections of the pens, infant mortality rose as high as 96%, the dead cannibalized by adults. Subordinate animals withdrew psychologically, surviving in a physical sense but at an immense psychological cost. They were the majority in the late phases of growth, existing as a vacant, huddled mass in the centre of the pens. Unable to breed, the population plummeted and did not recover. The crowded rodents had lost the ability to co-exist harmoniously, even after the population numbers once again fell to low levels. At a certain density, they had ceased to act like rats and mice, and the change was permanent.

By the time Calhoun’s work was popularized in the mid-1960s, the “population explosion” craze had reached its height. His work, with its obvious analogies to human behavior in densely populated urban areas, was cited to support widespread anxiety over population growth.

Gin Lane by HogarthCalhoun was a self-popularizer, and was more than happy to help his work reach a wider public. He encouraged the application of his studies to human behaviors in pathologically crowded conditions, and the analogies were indeed compelling: sexual deviance, aggression, loss of fertility, etc. Life in the crowded noir underworld —captured so effectively many years later in the film Blade Runner — was put forward as a parallel to the behavior of rats in their confined “utopias”.

Calhoun viewed his studies optimistically, and saw them as a way to find solutions to problems associated with human overcrowding. In later years he devised modified living spaces which muted the “behavioral sink” pathologies and allowed the subject animals to cope more readily with increased population densities. His results were applied by architects, city planners, and behavioral psychologists to the design of living spaces in urban conditions.

Unfortunately for Calhoun, his reputation was cemented in the early years of his fame by popular writers such as Paul Ehrlich and Tom Wolfe. He was the Prophet of Doom, not the Apostle of Hope, and his optimistic attitude was unable to alter that perception.

In the seventies and eighties when the zeitgeist changed, his work fell out of fashion, and even into disrepute. As it became obvious that we were not headed for Soylent Green, and that there was no imminent population disaster, his work seemed irrelevant. Population pressure had been eased by the suburban safety valve, and conditions in the cities seemed to resemble less and less those in Calhoun’s rat pens — at least to the formerly urban middle class, and it was their opinion that counted.
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Moreover, the idea of applying data about animal behavior to humans became more and more frowned upon. “Nature” gave way to “Nurture”, and deterministic biological explanations of human activity were deemed ideologically unacceptable. Calhoun was pushed towards the dustbin of history, and his later years were embittered by his waning influence and marginalization.

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I first encountered the studies of John B. Calhoun when I was in college almost forty years ago. His work was so compelling that ever since then I have kept him in mind while tracking news and social trends, in an attempt to determine whether the behavioral sink is indeed emerging among humans.

As later sociological studies observed, crowding in the city centers was reduced as the affluence of Western society increased. More and more people developed the ability to migrate out of high-density areas and move to the suburbs and the edge cities where there was more living space.

During the intervening four decades, however, every single indicator of a human behavioral sink has increased.

Fertility has dropped to catastrophically low levels across the entire Western world, to the extent that some cultures are at risk of disappearing permanently.

Riots in BaltimorePromiscuity is rampant, and children become sexually active at ever-earlier ages. Sexual deviance, particularly homosexuality, has not only increased, it has moved from being illegal and socially disapproved of, through tolerance, then acceptance, until finally it is celebrated and even considered normative in some places.

Gang-related behavior and violence is at epidemic levels. In parts of Europe the violent crime rate has increased to a point that would have been unimaginable just a generation ago.

Some of Calhoun’s other indicators are harder to measure. The incidence of child abuse, molestation, and neglect seems to have increased dramatically, but that may be due to greater awareness and reporting of the crimes. In the popular imagination, however, the abuse of children is perceived as growing more and more frequent.

All of the above would seem to correlate with an increased crowding of humans within a confined space, but such is demonstrably not the case. So what is going on?

To discover possible answers to this conundrum, it is necessary to look more closely at Calhoun’s work. Ramsden and Adams outline the theoretical framework behind the “behavioral sink” research:

Central to Calhoun’s experimental design was his contention that there exists an upper limit to the number of meaningful social interactions that an individual could cope with before stress became a factor. This innate limit determined a maximum group size — a figure Calhoun set at twelve in both rats and man. As population density increased it became ever more difficult for an individual to control the frequency of social contact. The result was unwanted interaction, leading to adverse reactions such as hostility and withdrawal, and ultimately, to the type of social and psychological breakdown seen during the latter stages in his crowded pens. [emphasis added]

In other words, it was not crowding per se that triggered pathological responses, but the increase in unwanted contacts with fellow members of the group. Too much social stimulation is as bad for the individual as too little, and when the amount of excessive stimulation reaches a critical point, the “sink” behavior kicks in:

The way Calhoun describes it, behavior becomes more and more erratic until, eventually, the behavioral sink emerges like a vortex. Thereafter it acts as an accelerant, exacerbating the effects of the other pathological behaviors: “The unhealthy connotations of the term are not accidental,” Calhoun wrote, “a behavioral sink does act to aggravate all forms of pathology that can be found within a group.”

Calhoun dubbed his artificial rat environments “utopias”, and the temptation to draw parallels with modern Western societies is hard to resist. We, too, live in an optimum environment, artificially created to take care of all our needs. Calhoun drew the parallel himself, and explicitly stated the risks:

With its subsequent descent into “hell,” he seemed to be questioning by extension the viability of the welfare democracy — the more resources we supplied to the population, the more profound our problems became.

[…]

Our conception of “utopia” as an environment in which the basic requirements of the population were met and social hierarchy obsolete, failed to account for social, biological, and psychological needs: the border between utopia and dystopia was not merely fine and easily crossed, it was fictitious. As he stated in an interview: “Human beings thus face a predicament: If we try to make everybody totally happy, we’ll destroy mankind.”

So here we are, denizens of a Calhounian Ratopia, with all its wonderful benefits, and exhibiting all the predicted signals for an imminent descent into the behavioral sink. Yet our population density is not high enough to explain our current collective behaviors. What can possibly account for this discrepancy?

The answer lies in the theoretical basis for the pathological responses exhibited by rats in the behavioral sink: they were experiencing too much social stimulation.

As pointed out by Calhoun’s critics, human beings are not rats, and our neuropsychology is immensely more plastic than that of rats. Our perceptions are molded and our behaviors displaced by social factors, so that our instincts may be rewired to such an extent that the original stimulus/response patterns are barely recognizable.

Much of our environment now contains stimuli that are experienced as social interaction even when no personal contact is involved. Picture a commuter stuck in a traffic jam on the freeway. He experiences the presence of all those other cars in terms of social interactions, becoming just as angry and frustrated as if they were people invading his personal space. Strictly speaking, the density of humans on that freeway is very low — hundreds of square feet per individual. Yet the driver experiences the process as if he were in a packed bar at happy hour.

Watch him take out his cell phone and call or text a series of friends and coworkers — another string of social interactions with no other humans nearby. Follow him to work and see him open his email and listen to his voicemail — interaction, interaction, interaction…

At home that night he watches the talking heads yell at each other on the TV. More vicarious interactions there. Then a movie or a sitcom with sexual stimuli, violence, anxiety, and tension — as if he were on a crowded street, experiencing each of these as a personal contact.

I submit that our modern affluent technological society has replaced much real personal interaction with a virtual simulacrum, and it has ramped up the frequency of stimuli to such a level that the “behavioral sink” responses have been triggered and are now causing us to circle the social drain.

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This is not a cause for complete pessimism, because the instinctive responses producing the behavioral sink may well have evolved as a last-ditch desperate mechanism by the social group to relieve pathological overcrowding. As Jim Moore points out in a paper for the Anthropology Department of the University of California at San Diego, from the point of view of population ecology, behavior that is pathological under normal circumstances may actually be adaptive when conditions are grave and threaten the entire group or even the species.

Calhoun’s rat populations were so damaged by their behavioral sink that the population never recovered. But the conditions he imposed upon his rats were totally artificial, and would never occur in nature. It seems likely that under natural circumstances the “sink” behaviors would induce a dieback and a population collapse, but one from which the group could recover.

If the human analogy holds, then sometime in the next twenty to sixty years we will face a catastrophic worldwide collapse of the population, coupled with a radical transformation of our social environment so that the burden of excessive unwanted social interactions will be relieved.

If I am correct, a period of unimaginable human suffering and devastation lies ahead. But beyond the horror lies the chance for a rebirth of civilization. Those who survive will be able to live in a world that is less burdened with pathological levels of stimuli and is thus more conducive to the formation of social structures that align with the instinctual needs of the human species. We will be starting over.

It brings to mind Isaiah 37:31:

And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward.


This post was inspired by a discussion at Rebellious Vanilla’s blog about the “behavioral sink” as it applies to human populations.

24 comments:

Egghead said...

Many years ago, I saw a TV show on the overcrowding of rats and how it led to absolutely CRAZY rats.

I have always remembered that show and thought about it often through the years.

Your mention of this is WHY I love your website. :)

Zenster said...

I submit that our modern affluent technological society has replaced much real personal interaction with a virtual simulacrum, and it has ramped up the frequency of stimuli to such a level that the “behavioral sink” responses have been triggered and are now causing us to circle the social drain.

Recent studies indicate that − for the first time in modern recorded history − this emerging generation is more shy than the prior one.

Deeper analysis is now investigating links between technology and this effect. Increasing dependence upon cellular phones and digital texting is reducing actual face-to-face interaction. An added side effect is that, when using texting or email, people are able to "edit" their messages, a feature not available when engaging in regular conversation.

This dependence upon editing our communication only serves to further inhibit any ability to spontaneously interact. It certainly handicaps improvisational expression and can only increase a sense of inadequacy when forced to deal directly with other people.

One recent survey had a sizable fraction of respondents admit using their cell phone to fake being called away from a social situation they deemed to be boring or uncomfortable. Clearly, the opposite may be true. Instead of boring, it may actually be the case that an overload of interactive stimulus is placing too much of a demand upon such individuals and they feel uncomfortable or incapable of participating in a functional manner.

Again, this incapability only serves to reinforce feelings of inadequacy and shyness which further entrench such self-perceptions. One can also be sure that any ostensible relief conferred by a cell phone call or text message from friends actually mutates into more stimulus rather than alleviating any sense of over-stimulation.

What’s more, the advent of computing has made the Internet a haven for people who wish to be surrounded only by those of a like mind. This “echo chamber” effect has already been witnessed at another [ahem] web site much discussed here.

Surrounding one’s self with those who think the same makes it far less likely that any opposing viewpoints will be encountered. This, in turn, further narrows individual thought patterns and only accelerates the spiral into a monoculture of like-mindedness that continues to increase the discomfort experienced by anyone straying outside of their “comfort zone”.

As an aside, it is something to be very much admired that Gates of Vienna has as its policy the inclusion of entirely opposing viewpoints so long as they adhere to the rules of participation.

In his book, The Shallows − What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, author Nicholas Carr postulates that voluminous information sources like Google may actually be contributing to a reduction in human intelligence. Much like how word processing spell checkers are contributing to a form of illiteracy and calculators are being blamed for growing “innumeracy”. Along with this, the Internet is becoming the focus of suspicions that individual attention spans and an inability to concentrate for extended periods on heavily analytical tasks may be a result of over-stimulation. There certainly exist reasonable fears that young children who are raised on today’s constant stream of high intensity television programming go on to exhibit a degree of attention deficit.

Beyond these outward symptoms there arise even greater concerns over ambiguity in sexual identity plus a recent tendency towards displaying androgyny or asexual appearance and behavior. This recalls those psychologically withdrawn rodents gathered in a “huddled mass in the centre of the pens.” Retraction of extrovert behavior would clearly represent a survival tool for less capable individuals seeking to reduce their profile and thereby avoid becoming victims of more violent psychopaths being bred up by the currently overcrowded conditions.

Nilk said...

The overexposure to technological means of communication definitely leads to an inability to deal appropriately or even coherently in the real world from what I've seen.

All you have to do is look at the kids today, and by "kids" I mean early 20s and younger.

They have grown up immersed in the dystopia of total welfare, total stimulation and total contact.

How many children are left on their own or allowed to just be children?

Using my own as an example, she lists her favourite activites as playing on the pc and playstation, even though she is rarely allowed on either at home.

She also loves her Scouts and gymnastics, but they are the first that spring to her mind.

Children have so many pressures on them from all sides these days, that there is no way I'd want to be one today. The overt politicizing of the classroom, the pc speak that pervades everything sullies young minds.

Why did the boy or girl throw the clock out the window? He or she wanted to see time fly.

That's how my girl tells her current favourite riddle.

She loves Tom and Jerry now, and Tweety and Sylvester, but it took her a few attempts at watching it before she "got" the humour.

And she's a very intelligent 7yo.

I know teenagers who have literally climbed the wall for having their phone taken off them.

I had one with me who was racking up hundreds of dollars on my bill, until I put a block on the phone. Then I put a bar on it, and she found a way around it, and would sit up when everyone else was in bed to make more calls.

When caught out, there was no remorse, no concept of shame.

Face to face, also, she has difficulty explaining herself.

The kids will talk to you with earphones in one ear, while texting with one hand.

This is unhealthy and symptomatic of what's coming.

The crash is going to be bigger than Ben Hur.

S said...

How did he know the conditions weren't just caused by being overfeed and what changes that does to the brain?

rebelliousvanilla said...

I wouldn't like being a child today either. I liked going out and playing with other children things like catch, draw with chalk on sidewalks, play red rover, catch, football, not knowing what sex is until 13 or so, blushing when a boy I liked in middle school looked at me and so on. Obviously, I had a PC, television and so on too, but it was before the rot took hold. I can't believe I'm not even 20 yet and I feel like I'm from two-three generations back.

will said...

Any reader of Roissy in DC - or anybody with comparable life experience - will immediately recognize all the phenomena described.

I hate cities.

will said...

btw, "will" is the fake name I stuck on my Rollory gmail account when I first created it, and I can not find out how to change how that gets displayed. OpenID is broken right now for some reason or I'd be using that.

Rollory

Juniper in the Desert said...

Surrounding one’s self with those who think the same makes it far less likely that any opposing viewpoints will be encountered. This, in turn, further narrows individual thought patterns and only accelerates the spiral into a monoculture of like-mindedness that continues to increase the discomfort experienced by anyone straying outside of their “comfort zone”. Quoting Zenster, I would like to say, the above has beena wonderful boon to me! Having lost various friends to all sorts of calamities, my family clinging onto their ghastly Jewicidal socialist nonsense, I have found some wonderful friends on the web! People I physically meet with and have great times, precisely because we have a lot in common and met on certain websites - NOT definitely dating ones. I am not in my youth but I feel reborn and re-energisied, when I can talk with people who feel the same way I do, I don't feel so isolated or as if I was a kind of right-wing freak!

Thank you so much GoV for posting this fascinating article; I have known of these experiments but not the man or the details.

One more thing. I accompanied a friend who was conducting the 1981 census in Whitechapel London. The tenements were crammed with Bangladeshis. they refused to tell us how many were living there. We knew most were illegal immigrants. the whole of the East End is crammed with these people now. They live 20 to a house built for maximum 8 people. How come they still manage to spew out at least 8 children per pairing, in such confined spaces with so much opportunity for stress? Is it the pressure of submission to islam? are they taking out their violence on the English people?

tomcpp said...

Personally I like this alternative interpretation of the experiment better. Like genes, human and animal minds are copy machines : they copy one another.

Now obviously such copying is not an exact science. It's reading minds, and while we're absurdly good at it (just try listing the amount of data you can collect about a person by looking at him/her for 5 seconds), we aren't psychic.

Now the trick why this works is obviously the second phase of any genetic algorithm :

1) create 100 variations of a working principle (ie. have lotsa babies)
2) kill off all the suboptimal ones (not just the outright defective, all but the very best. The larger the population, the more you should kill for optimal results)
3) goto 1

So anything that you copy from people you see is a useful survival technique ... IF (and only if) non-successful techniques lead to death (or at least removal from public view).

So what happens in a welfare state where any survival technique works ? Well that at any point any individual's "genes" and "memes" can be expressed like this

99,99% known good (enabled parent to survive)
0.01% "let's see if this works" genes and memes (they're essentially random)

Of course there can be a slight issue. Suppose you were to not kill off the least efficient ones. Then what happens :

1st generation : 99.99% good + 0.01% random
2nd generation : 98.9901% good + 0.02% random
...
10th generation :
90% good + 10% random
20th generation :
81% good + 19% random
30th generation:
74% good + 26% random

When you know that one has to be extremely lucky to survive with 1% random genes, it is a miracle we've gotten as far as we have.

In simulations "random" behavior nearly always turns out to be violent (you can see what "mostly" random behavior is on youtube : just look for "epilepsy seizure", which is a medical condition that causes tiny random impulses to be greatly amplified, sometimes until the brain circuitry blows itself out)

What will happen in our society is that massive ideological changes will happen at ever-increasing rates. You might think this is a good thing for islam. It is not. Islam might become nearly all-pervasive in an astoundingly short time, but rest assured, something will take it's place even faster (which is something you will find in most "convert" stories. Next to all converts are merely "passing through", with many imams complaining that 75% or more of converts re-convert out of the faith within a year, and meanwhile they're losing ever-more people born as muslims too. Imams and muslims do not, at all, think this will end well. In reality by any measure the islamic faith is not so much growing in followers as it is wildly fluctuating in numbers of followers, with a strong downward trend clearly visible through the peaks and drops).

But society as a whole will become a lot more violent as a result of these ever-faster ideological shifts. Conspiracy theories, ever more of them will become all-pervasive (and will "infect" people you won't think corruptible now)

Of course the whole thing will crash. At some point the decoherence of society will introduce burdens that cannot be recovered from. One thing is certain : people will not be very appreciative of the destabilizing role islam played at that time.

But the pace of this will increase. What will determine whether an ideology survives ? Not it's ability to grow, not at all, but it's ability to slow down shrinkage. Obviously being geographically spread matters, however it's colonies beyond the reach of modern communication that will make the difference : remote villages in Latin America or Siberia or ... those will survive relatively unscathed, and you can bet they will re-introduce Christianity and Islam into larger populations and we can start over ... of course, probably we'll have to do-over the dark ages first.

costin said...

Zenster, besides the sexually confused part and being a kid, I find myslef in what you describe. I became aware of this a few years ago already, I'm my own mouse I experiment on. for the time being. I hope the experiment goes well and after that I dream about moving to the country side.

@Baron, the archive is still not working right. I cant read posts from each month that are beyound what would normally fit on the first page.

costin said...

Oh, and I forgot to say. Excelent post, Baron. Though, the "behavioral sink" is helped in Europa also by the millions of immigrants that come from a violent culture. Most of the native Europeans are non violent or worse (the guy in green with his legs and arms crossed). The massive immigration changes the input data, even if we know that the outcome will be violent anyway

Baron Bodissey said...

costin --

I can't fix it, unfortunately.

This is a new blogger "feature" -- they changed their system so that it cuts off all pages at a certain number of bytes, which makes the archives useless.

I'm in the process of changing our template to show "next post" and "previous post" links. Right now I have the old-style template, and I have to build a new-style template and try to make it look like the old one before I implement it. In other words, the switchover is nasty. It takes many, many man-hours. That's why I haven't finished it yet.

Until then, I suggest that you do what I do: use the "recent posts" list on the sidebar. You can keep jumping back in time from post to post that way.

Sorry for the bother -- I wish I could offer a better solution.

Zenster said...

Juniper in the Desert: I accompanied a friend who was conducting the 1981 census in Whitechapel London. The tenements were crammed with Bangladeshis. They refused to tell us how many were living there. We knew most were illegal immigrants. The whole of the East End is crammed with these people now. They live 20 to a house built for maximum 8 people. How come they still manage to spew out at least 8 children per pairing, in such confined spaces with so much opportunity for stress? Is it the pressure of submission to islam? Are they taking out their violence on the English people?

Reflect for one moment upon the violence that is so common among Muslim youth. Then consider their conditions at home. Now imagine how whatever violence they exhibit in the outside world must be a pale reflection of the ritualized abuse they experience at home. Being forced to “live 20 to a house built for maximum 8 people” could serve as the textbook definition of “overstimulation”.

tomcpp: Imams and muslims do not, at all, think this will end well.

And, for once, they would be right. Islam has “terribly unhappy ending” written all over it. What Muslims view in modern Weapons of Mass Destruction as supreme empowerment is, in reality, likely to be their collective death knell. As Wretchard of the Belmont Club notes in his magnum opus, “The Three Conjectures”:

The most startling result of this analysis is that a catastrophic outcome for Islam is guaranteed whether America retaliates or not … Even if Islam killed every non-Muslim on earth they would almost certainly continue to kill each other with their new-found weaponry. Revenge bombings between rival groups and wars between different Islamic factions are the recurring theme of history. Long before 3,000 New Yorkers died on September 11, Iraq and Iran killed 500,000 Muslims between them. The greatest threat to Muslims is radical Islam; and the greatest threat of all is a radical Islam armed with weapons of mass destruction.

tomcpp: Conspiracy theories, [even] more of them will become all-pervasive (and will "infect" people you won't think corruptible now)

Unfortunately, due to the massive “dumbing down” of Western civilization by lowest common denominator television programming and an equally deficient educational system's curriculum few, if any, manage to remember the old saying:

Never attribute to conspiracy that which can be explained by stupidity.

Afonso Henriques said...

Baron,

Thank you very much for providing me such an interesting and somewhat accurate "dark" knowledge.

Really. I do not believe this is really deterministic but it sure makes some sense.

Thank you a lot. Once again, GoV at its best.

WAKE UP said...

I've been aware of this study for years, and I've been watching it manifest in human behaviour in recent times...

There was a time when there were two parallel human futures, with some of us on right side of the ledger - but we now appear to be foolishly making sure we all share the same fate.

...if you get my drift.

You New said...

Very nice psychological post (favorite) and prophetic ending with which I agree.

In the 1970's I studied psychology in a purely behavioral school. Yes, the Calhoun study was standard fare at the time. I had no idea that it fell out of favor.

I also studied group behavior. The studies at the time unequivocally damned group size, (larger is stupider and more unruly, violent) though I can't recall the specific studies without looking them up.

The socialists want to break down the order in the world. Looks like they are pretty much going to get their way, but I'm not going to let it get me down. Things do go in cycles.

S said...

Zenster - didn't Khomeni say that he didn't care if he had to kill every last person on earth, it was ok as long as islam wins.

kritisk_borger said...

Thomas Malthus theorized that the human population would increase when times are good (sufficient resources) and decline when times are rough (insufficient resources). He also claimed that the population could only reach a certain level before it started to plummet, and this was according to Malthus attributed to the fact that there simply aren’t enough resources around to feed a rapidly growing population. Sooner or later the resources become insufficient and that’s when the population starts to drop.

There are already too many people walking around on this planet, and I do believe that within the next few decades, resources or the will of the western world to artificially maintain the extremely high population growth of the third world will come to an end. And when that happens, people will start to die like flies in that part of the world. This could also lead to armed conflicts where the western world will have to fend off the hordes of people from the third world who’re trying to reach the west.

I’d also like to add one thing about the behavioural sink theory. It claims that animals (humans too?) will act in an uncharacteristic manner if the population density grows too rapidly and becomes too high. But this is certainly not the case with Hong Kong which is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Many of the locals live in tiny studio apartment which they share with several other family members. But the crime rates in Hong Kong are exceptionally low compared to the rest of the western world. And the locals don’t show any abnormal behavioural patterns. You can practically glue a $ 100.00 note to your forehead and walk around in Hong Kong after midnight and not run a risk of getting mugged.

kritisk_borger said...

I’ll try again. My last comment didn’t appear in the comment window.

Thomas Malthus theorized that the human population would increase when times are good (sufficient resources) and decline when times are rough (insufficient resources). He also claimed that the population could only reach a certain level before it started to plummet, and this was according to Malthus attributed to the fact that there simply aren’t enough resources around to feed a rapidly growing population. Sooner or later the resources become insufficient and that’s when the population starts to drop.

There are already too many people walking around on this planet, and I do believe that within the next few decades, resources or the will of the western world to artificially maintain the extremely high population growth of the third world will come to an end. And when that happens, people will start to die like flies in that part of the world. This could also lead to armed conflicts where the western world will have to fend off the hordes of people from the third world who’re trying to reach the west.

I’d also like to add one thing about the behavioural sink theory. It claims that animals (humans too?) will act in an uncharacteristic manner if the population density grows too rapidly and becomes too high. But this is certainly not the case with Hong Kong which is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Many of the locals live in tiny studio apartment which they share with several other family members. But the crime rates in Hong Kong are exceptionally low compared to the rest of the western world. And the locals don’t show any abnormal behavioural patterns. You can practically glue a $ 100.00 note to your forehead and walk around in Hong Kong after midnight and not run a risk of getting mugged.

rebelliousvanilla said...

kritisk, what Malthus said would be true without welfare. The old have nots would die off and a small part of the young, but with welfare, where's the problem? We will just give it away until we go out with a bang in civil war. You also make a great point about why any type of immigration is bad - more competition on the same resources.

Also, the ability of people to support highly populated places differs. Chinese in Hong Kong aren't really Bantu or Arabs. The insanity is brought over by not having space and resources for yourself, while mitigated by humans being different. And Hong Kong isn't provided with free food and goodies, it's an island with no resources that has to work hard to maintain itself. Not much of a ponzi state there.

4Symbols said...

In hoc signo vinces

Welfare is becoming the Israel of all our woes, if only welfare did not exist then ...

Living in a sink scheme I know that sinking feeling.

*~@):~{>

kritisk_borger said...

RV,

Malthus’s theories were based on the fact that humans multiply more rapidly than earth’s ability to feed them. Welfare hasn’t really got all that much to do with it. It’s got more to do with the fact that at some stage in the future there simply isn’t going to be enough food to go around.

The problem is exponential population growth (Humans multiply at 2, 4, 8 progressions), but the increase in food crops have a geometric growth (which means that these increases along linear lines of 1, 2, 3 progressions).

Sooner or later there will be some serious repercussions.

costin said...

@kritisk_borger, you are commenting on a post about behavioral sink, a process which in the end makes sure that you wont have too many people around at any give time. the Earth's ecosystem is tunning on its own, and I dont think that there is any way homans can destroy life on Earth, being 100 billiong, exploding all nukes, etc. nature (with small n) has it's own way getting back in balance.

you say that sooner or later there will be serious repercursions.. every once in a while a civilization dissapears (serious repercursions) and another one emerges. If the end of the world will come wont be because of things you see in Wall-E

rebelliousvanilla said...

kritisk, I really don't get how you can say that it doesn't have anything to do with less people working and more people leeching on those that do. It's simple, really.

Less people work = less food
More people leech on those that work = less food for those
Since the competition on agricultural products is global, the more you produce, the more food you can get. Also, welfare makes people reproduce - without aid to Africa, for example, the whole place would implode demographically - so a part of it is actually artificial reproduction. And there are breakthroughs in agriculture to increase food output, but yes, if push comes to shove related to food, then some won't have food.