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John B. Calhoun Film 7.1Watch Film on YouTube
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Manuscript Collection Record

1970-72 / 38 minutes (edited version)
Producers: National Institute of Mental Health, Time-Life Broadcasting
Sound, color

John B. Calhoun was a research psychologist for 40 years at the National Institute of Mental Health. One of his areas of study was the effects of overcrowding. Dr. Calhoun constructed mouse colony “universes” where rodent residents had plenty of food and water, and were safe from predators. What they didn’t have was space. In this film Dr. Calhoun explains, and the viewer sees, the effects on the animals of sustained overcrowding. The resulting “behavioral sink” shows the mice engaged in aberrant actions such as hyperaggression, compulsive grooming, failure to reproduce, and infant cannibalism. Mortality rates climbed and the population collapsed.

The Falls of 1972: John B Calhoun and Urban Pessimism
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