Learned helplessness

Foundation of research and theory[ edit ] Early key experiments[ edit ] American psychologist Martin Seligman initiated research on learned helplessness in at the University of Pennsylvania as an extension of his interest in depression. In Part 1 of this study, three groups of dogs were placed in harnesses. Group 1 dogs were simply put in a harnesses for a period of time and were later released.

Learned helplessness

The theory of learned helplessness was conceptualized and developed by American psychologist Martin E. While conducting experimental research on classical conditioningSeligman inadvertently discovered that dogs that had received unavoidable electric shocks failed to take action in subsequent situations—even those in which escape or avoidance was in fact possible—whereas dogs that had not received the unavoidable shocks immediately took action in subsequent situations.

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The experiment was replicated with human subjects using loud noise as opposed to electric shocksyielding similar results.

Seligman coined the term learned helplessness to describe the expectation that outcomes are uncontrollable. Learned helplessness has since become a basic principle of behavioral theory, demonstrating that prior learning can result in a drastic change in behaviour and seeking to explain why individuals may accept and remain passive in negative situations despite their clear ability to change them.

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In his book HelplessnessSeligman argued that, as a result of these negative expectations, other consequences may accompany the inability or unwillingness to act, including low self-esteemchronic failure, sadness, and physical illness.

The theory of learned helplessness also has been applied to many conditions and behaviours, including clinical depressionaging, domestic violencepovertydiscriminationparenting, academic achievement, drug abuseand alcoholism.

For example, the application of the theory to clinical depression is viewed as an oversimplification of the illness that fails to account for the complex cognitive processes involved in its etiologyseverity, and manifestation.Learned Helplessness By Gillian Fournier A condition in which a person or animal has come to believe he or she is helpless in a situation, even when this is untrue.

Learned helplessness.

Learned Helplessness | Encyclopedia of Psychology

Learned helplessness (LH) is an inferred psychological state used to account for the behavioral phenomenon in which animals exposed to uncontrollable aversive events, i.e. exposure to an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US) that is not predictable, escapable or avoidable, exhibit deficits in their instrumental responding in terms of escaping from subsequent aversive events.

Learned helplessness has since become a basic principle of behavioral theory, demonstrating that prior learning can result in a drastic change in behaviour and seeking to explain why individuals may accept and remain passive in negative situations despite their clear ability to change them.

Martin E. P. "Marty" Seligman (/ ˈ s ɛ l ɪ ɡ m ə n /; born August 12, ) is an American psychologist, educator, and author of self-help arteensevilla.coman is a strong promoter within the scientific community of his theories of positive psychology and of arteensevilla.com theory of learned helplessness is popular among scientific and clinical psychologists.

Learned helplessness

Learned helplessness is a psychological frame of mind which can be changed if the appropriate interventions are implemented. Here are a few that may help. Learned helplessness can begin very early in life, even at the infant stage. Institutionalized infants, as well as those suffering from maternal deprivation or inadequate mothering, are especially at risk for learned helplessness due to the lack of adult responses to their actions.

Learned helplessness
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