Research Paper: Psychological Testing the Science

Pages: 2 (763 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] (Calhoun, 1962) Simply put, when the rats became overpopulated, they began to behave in anti-social and unnatural ways. When this study was release in 1962, it had an incredible effect of society as a whole. This led people to believe they knew the reasons why crowded urban areas were filled with crime, riots, and other anti-social behaviors. ("Letting the Rat out of the Bag") This study became the impetus for the redesign of buildings, offices, and entire urban areas.

Calhoun's study is a legitimate study, but more in the field of animal Psychology than human. The assumptions made from this study, primarily that humans will act like rats when kept in confined spaces, was not proven by any means. Studies would have to be made on humans themselves, living in areas of high population density, to make the comparison stick. On the other hand, Calhoun's study did have some validity, and could be used as the basis of other research eventually culminating in a study that could predict the actions of humans. While humans and rats are different, studying rats can give some insight, however small, into the behavior of humans.

These two studies have had a significant impact not only on the field of psychology, but on society in general. Rorschach's test first presented the world with the idea that a test of perception could be a predictor of human behavior. This led others to begin to study human behavior in a number of different ways; creating new fields of Psychology. And Calhoun's population density study shocked the world into thinking that a population density which was too high would be bad for society. The result being a world filled with parks, wide streets, and open spaces, as well as offices filled with cubicles. ("Letting the Rat out of the Bag")


Calhoun, J.B. (1962). "Population Density and Social Pathology." Scientific American. 206, 139-48.

"Letting the Rat out of the Bag, The Cultural Influence of John B. Calhoun's Rodent Experiments." (2009) London School of Economics and Political Science. Retrieved from


Rorschach, Hermann. (1951). Psychodiagnostics: A Diagnostic Test Based on Perception, 2nd Ed.. Retrieved from [END OF PREVIEW]

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Psychological Testing the Science.  (2011, June 24).  Retrieved October 16, 2019, from

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"Psychological Testing the Science."  June 24, 2011.  Accessed October 16, 2019.