Brian G. Teel

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. John E. Nangle

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Mountjoy

Third Advisor

Dr. Chris Koronakos

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


One branch of aggression research has concentrated on the elicitation of aggressive behavior by means of exteroceptive stimulation. Electric shock or similar painful stimuli (Ulrich & Azrin, 1962) are well known to produce fighting in the laboratory rat. This basic method has allowed experimental analysis of a wide scope of associated variables.

Ulrich and Azrin (1962) investigated several different parameters. They found that laboratory rats increased their fighting behavior as the frequency of shocks increased from 0.1 to 38 shocks per minute. With frequency fixed, the fighting response rate resembled an inverted U-shaped curve when shock intensity was increased from low 0.5 milliamperes, to optimal 2.0 ma, to high 5.0 ma. When the aversive stimulus was continued for an extended period of time the fighting response was extremely resistant to reflex fatigue. During the first hour fighting was elicited on 82%. of the shocks. After six hours and nearly 15,000 shocks the response rate dropped below 40% for the next 1.5 hours and the Ss appeared to be weakened physically. Using a fixed frequency and intensity » the authors varied the size of the enclosure. When the Ss were confined in a very small area, 0.25 square feet, the fighting response was elicited by 90% of the shocks. After the floor area was increased to 2.25 square feet the response rate dropped to only 2%.

Included in

Psychology Commons