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ShortCut: Goats and Battle Neuroses

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ShortCut: Goats and Battle Neuroses

In this article series named ShortCut, I share some interesting and intriguing information elucidating various subjects from the books I have read by making quotes. In this particular article, I wanted to share about the shock experiments applied to goats to comprehend the nature of neurosis, especially related to battles.

"Another of Pavlov's students, Dr. Howard Scott Liddell became a professor at Cornell University. There, in 1927, he began to applying Pavlov's method of creating experimental neuroses to goats. To create a psychoneurotic goat he first attached a wire to goat's forelimb in order to be able to give it a mild electric shock. Then he used the clicking of a telegraph sounder to warn the animal of the impending shock. Tick, tick, tick, tick, zap! When he repeated this process every six minutes, twenty times a day, a goat soon showed signs of agitation, but if he repeated the warning and shock every two minutes, goats quickly froze in a state of `tonic immobility`, every muscle in their body tense and their forelimb, to which the zapper was attached, extended rigidly upwards.

It wasn`t the shock itself that caused the breakdown. It was the nervous anticipation of the shock, enduring hour after hour of tension, knowing another jolt would arrive. This insight could be directly applied to battle neuroses. Liddell imagined a connection between the goats in his lab, frozen in fear as they waited for the next electrick shock, and people cowering in bomb shelters or soldiers huddled in foxholes waiting for a bomb to burst. In both cases, the monotonous, unyielding stress eventually broke their minds(1)."

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Figure - 93.1

References

(1) Boese, Alex. "Experimental Neurosis in Animals." Electrified Sheep: More Bizarre Experiments From The Bestselling Author of Elephants On Acid.. London: Pan Macmillan. 95-96. Print.

Figure - 93.1 https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/goat-being-used-in-study-of-neurotic-animals-at-cornell-news-photo/50608427?adppopup=true