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What is SHAM RAGE? What does SHAM RAGE mean? SHAM RAGE meaning, definition & explanation

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Published on Aug 17, 2018

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What is SHAM RAGE? What does SHAM RAGE mean? SHAM RAGE meaning, definition & explanation.

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Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/... license.

Sham rage is a controversial term used to describe behavior such as biting, clawing, hissing, arching the back and "violent alternating limb movements" produced in animal experiments by removing the cerebral cortex, which are claimed to occur in the absence of any sort of inner experience of rage. These behavioral changes are reversed with small lesions in hypothalamus.

The term was in use by Walter Bradford Cannon and Sydney William Britton as early as 1925. Cannon and Britton were doing research on emotional expression resulting from action of subcortical areas. Cats had their neocortices removed but still displayed characteristics of extreme anger resulting from mild stimuli. The term has been rejected by many affective neuroscientists on the grounds that nonhuman animals displaying rage behaviors do indeed experience rage, for example, this is the view of Jaak Panksepp, who coined the term affective neuroscience and was among the first to describe the neural generators of rage.

The physiological symptoms of sham rage include rise in blood sugar, pulse, respiratory rates, and blood pressure. These symptoms can occur spontaneously and may also be evoked by sensory stimulations. In some cases animals have suffered several convulsive attacks followed by withdrawal of sodium barbital. It has been concluded that the cerebral cortex may play a facilitating part in this type of convulsive process. These physiological effects happen alongside the rage-like symptoms of hissing, clawing, biting, etc.

There are only a few known causes of sham rage in animals. Most of the experiments done on animals have been done on cats, dogs and rats. The actual symptoms of sham rage are normal anger and defense reactions in animals. It becomes sham rage only when this rage reaction is triggered by unthreatening stimuli. A study by Bard (1934) showed that the removal of the neocortex in cats and dogs produced sham rage. The behavior of each animal was observed before the surgery was performed, noting how calm and friendly the animal was with humans and other animals, as well as their reactions to being handled. After the surgery, Bard observed that the animals would have an extreme rage reaction to stimuli that had previously produced little to no response, like touching the tail. He concluded the reason for this might be that the removal of the neocortex causes a loss of inhibition of the areas involved in the rage reaction, causing those areas to become hyperactive.

A study by Reis and Gunne (1965) found that electrically stimulating the amygdala of cats caused sham rage, which resulted in a decrease in the presence of adrenaline and noradrenaline. They believed this was because the excited defense reaction known as sham rage caused such a huge increase in the release of the neurotransmitters that the brain could not resynthesize noradrenaline fast enough to keep up. ....

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