Density, Perceived Choice, and Response to Controllable and Uncontrollable Outcomes

  • Judith Rodin


With increasing density in almost every major urban center and the population continuing to grow dramatically, the study of crowding has begun to attract considerable attention in the social sciences. Interestingly, it was a series of animal studies (Calhoun, 1961, 1962) that first provided systematic evidence associating a number of social pathologies such as infanticide, aberrant sexuality, and high rates of mortality with increased density. In his experiments, Calhoun simply provided normal rats with sufficient food and water and allowed them to reproduce and overpopulate in a fixed area. The pathologies developed when high densities were reached. While there are correlational studies that have reported comparable social disorganization and pathology related to overcrowding in humans (Galle, Gove, & McPherson, 1972; Schmitt, 1957, 1966; Winsborough, 1965), Freedman (1975) has suggested that the statistical relationship may occur because both are effects of poverty and undereducation and concluded that high density does not necessarily have negative effects on people (Freedman, Heshka, & Levy, 1975).


Residential Density Experimental Social Psychology Social Pathology Solvable Pattern Solvable Task 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith Rodin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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