Experimentally produced neurotic behavior in the rat (1938)

16 Mar
Director Adelbert Ford
Producer Psychological Cinema Register of the Pennsylvania State College
Contributors Norman R.F. Maier and Nathan M. Glaser
Length 26
B&W/Color Black & White
UO Library Catalog description: None
Call # Film Ma39
Genre Documentary
Rare Yes
Online No
Copyright status Protected
Physical condition Poor
Oregon-related No


Norman R.F. Maier and Nathan M. Glaser were very interested in the rat. They each spent most of their lives studying and producing books and films on the behavior of rats. Together they published “The Abnormal Rat”, which was the result of this and other experiments. The study depicted in this film won Maier a Newcomb award but also brought an onslaught of controversy. In the study rats are taught a simple task and then once they know it well they would be presented with that same task, but the solution would be gone. The rats would become quite disillusioned and some would even have seizures. Maier suggested that these reactions were evidence of neurotic behavior. The controversy was that it could not be proved that solely that lack of solution triggered the seizures, instead many psychologists pointed to other factors, such as sound, that could have lead to the seizures.

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