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Science Idle

Scientists' Mouse Fight Club 193

An anonymous reader writes "To study how aggression, fighting, and winning change the brain, scientists set up a tournament of mice fights. They watched as the lab rodents took a break from their hum-drum existence and battled it out (however, the researchers broke the first rule of Fight Club by publishing a paper about their findings [abstract]). They found clear evidence of the 'winner effect,' in which a mouse that has just won a fight maintains elevated levels of testosterone and aggression, and is therefore more likely to win the next bout. Interestingly, the winner effect was strongest in mice that were fighting in their own cages — i.e., those that had home-field advantage."
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Scientists' Mouse Fight Club

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  • Men... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @01:42PM (#32828700)

    "How a society channels male aggression is one of the greatest questions as to whether that society will survive. That's why I am not against violence in the media, I am against the glorification of immoral violence."
    -- Dennis Prager

  • by GungaDan ( 195739 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @01:49PM (#32828784) Homepage

    I wonder what the difference in this "winner effect" is when the defend-my-own-home motivation is absent?

  • Re:Men... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @01:53PM (#32828826) Journal

    Really? Prager? That dude's logic meter was broken the day he was born.

    He's pro-violence in the media because it makes money for his right-wing buddies, just like his pro-religion and pro-right-wing anything does.

    Being "against the glorification of immoral violence" is a straw-man, set up to demonize anyone who points out that his idea of "morality" is extremist.

  • Re:Women... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @02:03PM (#32828960)
    Female aggression only happens when women are empowered. I guess we should disenfranchise them again. (That's a joke, son.)

    But more seriously, when people are given the latitude to be aggressive, you'll see a spectrum of responses. Some people can handle power responsibly, others get drunk with it and start thumping people with little provocation or cause. Systems are supposed to be designed such that abusers are culled, but it seems that just as frequently a given system of authority closes ranks and defends 'it's own' against outside accusations however well-founded.

    However there's no cause to single out genders/races/ages/etc. because such categories only go so far in explaining what are ultimately individual motivations. People may draw from various behavior archetypes, may respond to various experiences in ways that can be predicted or categorized, but there are always factors that introduce variances such that you can't view people as simple equations of A + B = C every time.
  • by smitty777 ( 1612557 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @02:07PM (#32829016) Journal

    The results of this seem a little confounded to me. They "paired favored mice with the weaker...". Didn't they just introduce a bias?

  • by Itninja ( 937614 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @02:16PM (#32829120) Homepage
    Kind of like prostitution. If you pay someone to have sex with you it's considered illegal (in some places). But you pay someone to have sex with you in front of a video camera, then it's porn and protected as free speech.
  • Re:Women... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Servaas ( 1050156 ) <captivayay AT hotmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @03:14PM (#32829936)

    you're simply looking at the momentum from a social adaptation that was natural for women in a patriarchal society.

    Sometimes that bitch from down the street is just a bitch.

  • Re:Women... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by penguin_dance ( 536599 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @03:28PM (#32830178)

    Doesn't that simply show a superior intellect outwitting superior physical strength?

  • Re:Women... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @03:33PM (#32830258)
    I was talking about effective physical aggression. A woman who fights 'like a girl' stereotypically (slapping, hair-pulling, etc.) is not going to be as effective as the masculine approach of attacking with powerful blows, blocking, feigning, etc. There's a reason why women take self-defense courses to learn how to handle themselves in a fight, it does not come naturally to most of them. Don't misread that, I'm not saying that fighting doesn't come naturally, I'm saying that fighting effectively does not come naturally, and men are the gatekeepers of that experience.
  • Re:Women... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thrawn_aj ( 1073100 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @04:26PM (#32831054)

    I will take exception to one of your conclusions. The "Feminist movement" actually does want equality. You forget that not all women are feminists. There are those (I met a few recently who openly admitted this in their own case) who despise feminism because it meant they couldn't be 'pretty little girls' all their lives and had to step up and fend for themselves. These are the women who actively opposed the feminist movement when it first gained steam.

    In fact, many modern feminists would agree with your essential points (that feminism is being distorted and that the principle of gender equality has gone down the crapper). There two provocative books on the subject by Christina Hoff Sommers Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women [amazon.com] and The WAR AGAINST BOYS: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men [amazon.com]. I heard about the latter in a radio interview and the examples she raised then were about male portrayal in the media today. Essentially, her view is that revenge for past female oppression is not a worthy goal for feminists and it doesn't help the cause either.

  • Re:Women... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheCarp ( 96830 ) <sjc@carpane3.14t.net minus pi> on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @04:37PM (#32831224) Homepage

    I don't tend to have the same view exactly, but, I have had a small amount of martial arts training (couple of years in a couple of styles, nothing too serious), and so, I have been exposed to women trained to fight, and they are every bit a mans equal when trained (making allowances for size and strength, but those advantages can be somewhat nullified with speed, training, and experience)

    That said, I heard a very interesting talk by an old martial arts master (I forget which, one of the japanese schools) in a documentary. His insight on schoolyard violene was interesting... he said its good for boys to fight when they are young because they learn their own strength, they get hurt, and they learn how much damage they can do to others and themselves.

    His claim was that the danger of trying to eliminate this sort of fighting was young adults growing up not knowing their own strength and not being as aware of how much they can hurt each other, and so fights between them, when they do arise, are more deadly.

    Overall, I believe it. Look at someone whose been a martial artist for years. The control that they can exhibit is amazing. The ability to throw a "lightning fast" punch, yet connect with so little force that you might not know it, or how and where to give you a good solid hit to bruise your ego without damaging your bones or flesh. Hell, one of my instructors had so much control, that I didn't realize that he was demonstrating a sneaky groin kick until I felt his toes caressing my balls. Quite unsettling how fast it happened but... he still had enough control to not even cause pain.

    Now schoolyard fights wont give you that sort of control but... try sparring with some new students who just recently learned how to throw a kick and its just all unfocused power with no control.... so I can definitely see it.


  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @04:45PM (#32831346)

    With really is a tragedy, people feed a self aware to some extant mammal that would make a loving pet to a creature that would not notice if you died tomorrow.

  • Re:Women... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chihowa ( 366380 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @05:41PM (#32832376)

    Doesn't that simply show a superior intellect outwitting superior physical strength?

    If the situation truly warranted absolute annihilation of the opponent, sure. But even my wife admits that women can be cruel over petty squabbles. Women seem to have a harder time working out problems (even if men only work them out after a little fighting) and seem to hold grudges for longer. A superior intellect would probably know a little something about picking your battles and the good of social harmony.

  • Re:Women... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Have Brain Will Rent ( 1031664 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @06:29PM (#32833020)

    The "Feminist movement" actually does want equality.

    Then that would imply that the feminist movement is as interested in those cases where men are "less equal" than woman as it is in those cases where women are "less equal" than men. Can you give a few examples showing that mainstream feminism actively concerns itself with the former? I mean more than just the occasional book by women like Sommers who, brave though she is for publishing, was then shunned by mainstream feminism?

    And IIRC Sommers does quite a good job of showing that mainstream feminism is not about equality anymore, if it ever was.

I owe the public nothing. -- J.P. Morgan