Uploaded on May 22, 2011
Audio/Visual: sound, b&w
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Downloaded 695 times Average Rating: 3.33 out of 5 stars
Reviewer: Christine Hennig - 4 out of 5 stars - March 4, 2005
Subject: A Real Rat Race
Stark, silent college psychology film showing a behavioral experiment done on white rats. Three white rats are placed in a cramped beaker and forced to compete for a single food pellet. When they are well-fed, this results in competition but not outright battles. When they are underfed, however, it gets nasty. After a number of fights, they eventually settle into a hierarchy, with the rat whose the biggest bully getting first grabs at the food pellet, the middle rat occasionally offering mild resistance, and the submissive rat becoming so scared he refuses to eat even when alone. The stark, disturbing atmosphere of this film is intensified by the soundtrack, which consists only of film sprocket noises alternating with a trio of repetitive beats----boom boom boom, boom boom boom, over and over again. The uncaring "objectivity" of the film is also disturbing, considering that this was probably a highly stressful experience for the rats. The results of the experiment are interesting, though, showing us how dominance hierarchies are formed. This would be a good film for video artists to mine for footage for a film about violence.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Reviewer: Spuzz - 3 out of 5 stars - February 18, 2005
Subject: Tonight, in this very ring..
This shortened film tells all we really need to know about what happens when you put three hungry rats with each other and only one pellet of food. One of them is going to be tougher than the other, and will fight to the finish in order to maintain it's dominance. Nothing really surprising here, love the "frozen fight position" they take.
Reviewer: Wilford B. Wolf - 3 out of 5 stars - February 17, 2005
Subject: ..Try to take over the world!
Another in a group of silent psychology/sociology films aimed at college students. This one deals with how hieracrchies of dominance are created. The film is mostly static shots of three rats in a small enclosure, with intertitles explaining the action. The action is a bit dry, but it still is interesting to see how, as the scientists underfeed the rats, a hierarchy is formed and changes in behavior.
However, the obvious point of this, especially in the late 1930s and early 1940s, was an extrapolation of rat behaviors to human psychology. This point is made most clear at the end equating dominance with improved problem solving ability. More recent brain research has called into question how findings of experiments such as depicted in this film actually apply to humans. Still, the film is an interesting study of animal behavior.
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