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Is there any verifiable evidence that crabs, in fact, behave as if they possess "crab mentality"?

The term “crab mentality” is used to describe a kind of selfish thinking that runs along the lines of “if I can't have it, neither can you.”

Individually, the crabs could easily escape from the pot, but instead, they grab at each other in a useless "king of the hill" competition which prevents any from escaping and ensures their collective demise.

Is it true that multiple crabs in a basket have a lower chance of escaping than an single crab in a basket, because they hinder each other in their own attempts?

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    So, the claim is "Multiple crabs in a basket have a lower chance of escaping than an single crab in a basket, because they hinder each other in their own attempts." rather than "Crabs have selfish mental models", right? – Oddthinking Jul 25 '14 at 5:07
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    @Oddthinking Yes, otherwise it would be a question of crabs' motivation :) – sashkello Jul 25 '14 at 5:27
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    There are some apparently crab-experienced people over at the Straight Dope board who say it does happen. Also, The Source of All Knowledge weighs in. – P_S Jul 25 '14 at 5:56
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    @P_S I have seen this (as a Marylander I've seen many a bucket of live crabs) and as near as I can tell, the crabs are merely grabbing at anything that looks like it will get them nearer to the top of the bucket; that usually means whichever crab is closest to escaping. What kind of analogy to human selfishness that makes is beyond me, I just eat them. – KutuluMike Jul 25 '14 at 19:18
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    From the question "The term “crab mentality” is used to describe a kind of selfish thinking that runs along the lines of “if I can't have it, neither can you.”" indicates that the question is definitely about mentality. If it isn't, you ought to reword it. – Dikran Marsupial Aug 10 '14 at 14:27

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