"The Behavioral Sink Hole" is a term coined by Calhoun after conducting a study on overcrowding of rats. In his experiment he was studying how behavior was affected by crowding. There were four things that he observed: 1) Rats that wanted to stay on top were required to fight more often than they would have normally needed to fight in a less crowded environment; 2) Other male rats became very submissive and would avoid all of the other rats including female rats; 3) Some male rats became sexual deviants in which they would pursue female rats with out following usual courting protocol. Some would become hyper-sexual pursuing any rat including young and other males; 4) Females were also affected in that they stopped preparing their nests when they became pregnant.
Additional studies have looked at high density populations in humans as well. One study looked at the differences between populations in a high density prison compared to a less densely populated prison. The researchers found that those in the more populous prison had more suicides, violence, murders, and less compliance than those in the less populous.
This leads us to characterization and how our characters should act. It seems that as we are creating believable characters we need to look at the different stressors that they may be going through including the stress of overcrowding. Also, as our characters are put into high density situations they will need to fight more for available resources. As our characters are trying to complete their "quest" they will need resources that may not be readily available. How do our characters react to these stresses. Do they become aggressive, are they submissive, do they become sexual predators?
Update: I have completed my book and my wife is going through it. I hope to have it ready for beta readers by next week (Monday). It is about 37,000 words (115 pages) long and I am shooting to have it self published by the end of the month. If anyone is interested please let me know.