Chickens are currently playing an important role in research in the United States into the causes of catatonic schizophrenia in humans.
Chickens are currently playing an important role in research in the United States into the causes of catatonic schizophrenia in humans. Psychologist, Dr. Gordon Gallup of Tulane University, New Orleans, is using poultry in his study of human catatonia -- a trance-like state induced by the inability to cope with emotional stress.
The chickens are put into a sort of hypnotic trance using direct eye contract. Dr. Gallup calls this state "tonic immobility" which he says is a phenomenon common to all animals in the presence of predators.
Just as the chicken instinctively plays "dead" when in direct confrontation with danger, Dr. Gallup fools that under conditions of exaggerated stores, human beings resort to a catatonic state in the hope of escape.
The experiments have already produced positive results, according to Dr. Gallup. He hopes that his research will one day help schizophrenics control -- and possibly avoid -- catatonia altogether.