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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pike Syndrome

Today’s post talks about an interesting phenomenon known as the Pike Syndrome. What is the Pike Syndrome all about and what are the implications that we can learn from it?

Firstly, lets learn about the Pike Syndrome.

The pike is a fierce carnivorous fish that eats smaller fishes. In an interesting experiment, scientists took a pike and placed it into a large tank with many smaller fishes.

The pike however, was separated from these smaller preys by a layer of glass, forming a barrier preventing the pike from reaching its prey.

The pike continuously smashed itself against the glass barrier while trying to reach its prey, but was unsuccessful in its attempts in penetrating this invisible barrier.

Gradually, it became discouraged and discontinued this behaviour. The pike eventually sank to the bottom of the tank and just laid there. When the pike finally stopped hitting the glass barrier, the scientists removed the barrier, allowing the pike to feast.

To their surprise, the pike continued ignoring the smaller fishes, even when they were swimming right next to the pike. Eventually, the pike starved to death, even when its food was swimming right in front of it. This behaviour was eventually known as the “Pike Syndrome”

So, what are the lessons we can take from this “Pike Syndrome?”

Well, the Pike Syndrome tells us that our minds are indeed very much in control of our behaviour.

In the experiment, when the barrier is removed, the fish were swimming right in front of the pike, yet the pike still perceive the barrier to be in place and starved to death. The pike still believed that the barrier was there.

In real life, people are limited by a whole host of barriers such as age, abilities or even self confidence. It does not matter if the barrier is physically there or not, but if our minds perceive a limitation, then a barrier is very much in place. If you perceive yourself to be inferior for instance, this could eventually become a self fulfilling prophecy

In addition, this experiment tells us that it is often difficult to identify the change, even when the barrier is removed. The pike was unable to change its mindset when the barrier was removed and starved to death. Similarly, people suffer from the same problem as well. We often assume that the barrier is still in place when in fact, it has already disappeared.

So, do try to identify cases of Pike Syndrome in your life. Remove the constraints that limit your life by critically examining the situation and remove any false assumptions that have been previously holding you back. You can change and be a better person! Achieve better interpersonal communication!

If you have enjoyed this post about Pike Syndrome, you might consider bookmarking this page or checking out related posts regarding life and interpersonal communication.
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Forest Parks said...

Wow never heard of this. That is phenomenal. Do you know how long the experiment lasted?

You are right about the barriers, I try not to let this kind of thing hinder me, but it always affects us eventually. Just need to keep breaking them down.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Nice post here. Truly encouraging.

Never heard about pikes but at there are times I behave and think like it. :-)

Anonymous said...

This is fascinating and so true. What a great analogy to explain something so common yet not really understood.

Patricia Rockwell said...

Love the Pike Syndrome!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the post! Kind of reminds me of the way elephants are trained when young. Basically, baby elephants are chained and beaten into submission. So even when they grow up, there's this inherent fear of their trainers...

Anonymous said...

Well, I kinda feel sorry for the pink...and I shudder about the baby elephants. That's horrible!


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Anonymous said...

I was writing an article on limiting beliefs when I ran across this article and I just wanted to know if I can use your discription of Pike Syndrome in a furure article.

Here is the article that I am working on now.

Wenbin Nah said...

Hi Ken,

I am delighted that you would consider using my description of Pike Syndrome in a future article.

However, please do acknowledge the source of your information by linking back to my article if you do use it.

Thanks... :)