James Wilce

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


For several years, Huhman has been wrestling with the problems of social stress, and especially social defeat, as a stressor. These studies have all used Syrian hamsters. We can appreciate her motives in using these animals over others, particularly her desire to cause fewer injuries and therefore the methods she uses to induce aggression, particularly the fact that the sort of aggression she induces in them leads to few physical injuries. Huhman's is one of several chapters in this volume that approaches developmental psychobiology from the perspective of animal behavioral physiology. Huhman uniquely focuses on hormones and brain structure and function, exploring possible homologies between the sort of stress response experimentally induced in hamsters and human stress response. This homology rests, inter alia, on the fact that both humans and hamsters “produce spontaneous aggressive behavior,” regardless of sex. Both learn. Both are subject to conditioning. That is to say that both overreact as it were – developing responses that relate somehow to innate potentials (evolutionary heritage) yet are too intense, last too long, or continue to arise in environments that differ significantly from those in which the response was appropriately learned. Huhman's work builds on studies like Björkquist's (2001), which have encouraged on the one hand social psychologists (regarding humans) and on the other biologists and physiological psychologists (regarding other animals) to develop shared models of “social defeat.”

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFormative Experiences
Subtitle of host publicationThe Interaction of Caregiving, Culture, and Developmental Psychobiology
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780511711879
ISBN (Print)9780521895033
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Commentary'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this