Question on the power of "Hope"

pspangle at pspangle at
Mon Nov 4 07:55:16 EST 1996

On Sun, 3 Nov 1996, John Ross wrote:

> But my question relates to an intro on the film about what appeared to
> be laboratory footage on rats that were dropped into an glass tank of
> water and left to drown.
> The first rat was placed into the water and it swam around for
> something like 30mins before it tired, gave up and drowned.
> The second rat was dropped in and just as it was tiring and about to
> go under it was taken out. After a few minutes rest, it was dropped
> back in, but this time it lasted about 15 hrs before it drowned. Or so
> the voiceover was saying, suggesting that it was the "hope" of another
> rescue that kept it going.
> 15 hrs seems a bit long to me and and I don't usually blindly accept
> TV "facts", but the idea of hope keeping motivation alive seems
> sensible. Anybody know of any studies on the subject of hope or care
> to comment on the above.

A somewhat similar study (not as deadly) involved college students asked
to hang from a bar by their hands as long as they could.  If they hung
alone, they could hang for about 15 minutes.  If there were several doing
it at once, it went up to 30 minutes.  If a reward was offered for the one
who hung the longest, it was over an hour.  

Sorry, the study was years ago, and I don't have references.

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