Question: How can you bully a rat?

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  1. Hey, my scientific specialty!

    You want to try and reproduce what happens in human bullying, if that’s what you’re studying. In human bullying, there is a lot of verbal taunting and threatening, and there is always a strong sense of social failure.

    What we did is train up one rat to be a ‘bully’. We’d give him his own territory, and a mate to make him extra territorial. Then we’d put younger inexperienced males in his territory for him to practice bullying on so he was used to the experience. Then we’d put a adolescent inexperienced male into the territory. The ‘bully’ would be used to ‘winning’ and would not hesitate to start intimidating the adolescent male right away.

    Rats intimidate by standing alongside each other and showing how big they are, then try to face the other rat head on and try to move them into a corner or out of the territory. There was hardly any real fighting or even physical contact. But boy did it have an effect. The adolescents became socially anxious and generally inactive, they’d even eat less!



  1. aww, that’s sad but interesting


  2. steal his lunch money!