Rat Park

In this experiment, Professor Bruce K. Alexander studied whether continued drug addiction was entirely due to the effects of drug consumption, or whether outside factors could have an influence on the potential for addiction.

He took two groups of rats and separated them into two separate enclosures. Half were placed in single, standard cages with each rat being completely isolated. The other half were placed in a giant, specially-built open enclosure that had walls painted to look like woodlands, and cedar shavings and dozens of boxes for the rats to nest and play in, essentially providing everything needed to keep the rats happy. Most significantly, the rats inhabiting this enclosure were able to play, fight, and socially engage with one another. This enclosure became known as “Rat Park.” Continue reading