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Dislocation Theory of Addiction

March 10, 2015

Rat Park

I was going to start this post with an off-topic warning, but addiction is mentioned frequently in the context of gaming, and more often than not, as a blunt instrument in the hands of ignorant politicians. The comic above is taken from The “Rat Park” experiment which turns the traditional arguments about addiction in rodent populations on their head – isolation and sensory deprivation would turn anyone to drugs and there is proof. After viewing the science, you can jump right to the implications and conclusions presented in The Rise and Fall of the Official View of Addiction, by Bruce K. Alexander, Professor Emeritus and author of the Rat Park study.

EDIT: I deleted the embedded interview of him because he went Full Socialist and everyone knows that you don’t go Full Socialist. I agree with his ideas demonstrated by his study of rats, that it is the environment and social fragmentation of the individual more than some genetic/neural predisposition or medical condition that is going to account for the greatest number of addictions (anyone remember Trading Places?). That’s where he should have stopped.

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4 Comments
  1. March 10, 2015 10:52 am

    Fascinating study, and done in a simple, easy format. Hopeless people turn to drugs. When we are liberated in our minds and hearts, drugs have no place. There is no addiction that can touch or hold down the heart filled with love.

  2. March 10, 2015 10:28 pm

    Yes, and in accompaniment with that there is this:

    And this one is even better!

  3. March 14, 2015 5:31 pm

    Another highly influential mice experiment (old) with profound results:

    http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2015/03/the-amazing-rise-and-fall-of-a-rodent-utopia/

    Calhoun continued his work with rats and mice, and finally in 1958 he created his own lab in the second floor of a barn from which to launch his most ambitious series of experiments yet, which consisted of creating a series of what he called “Universes” which were habitats designed to be rodent utopias, free of disease, predators, and providing unlimited resources. In each instance, the rodent populations experienced a rapid rise in population followed by a levelling off that seemed to go hand in hand with a variety of unusual, deviant behaviors, before finally the birthrate screeched to a halt, after which the rodent society would implode and cease to exist.

    Some other interesting reads on the subject.

    Population Density and Social Pathology (pdf)

    Escaping the laboratory: the rodent experiment of John B Calhoun and their cultural influence (pdf download available)

  4. March 15, 2015 2:25 pm

    I read the Mysterious Universe. Very interesting article. I’ll look into the others.

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