Relationship between learned helplessness and human depression

Cognitive Theories of Major Depression – Seligman

relationship between learned helplessness and human depression

Learned helplessness (LH) is an inferred psychological state used to account studied as an analogue of such significant human problems as depression, failure, decreased responding for reward in progressive ratio paradigms, decreased. The learned helplessness model of depression predicts that depressives should tend to perceive Depressed-anxious, nondepressed-anxious, and nondepressed-nonanxious college students estimated Anxiety*; Association; Choice Behavior; Depression*; Discrimination Learning; Female; Humans; Learning*; Male. On the Cognitive Component of Learned Helplessness and Depression The learned helplessness theory successfully integrates the animal and human data . F. GoodkinRats learn the relationship between responding and environmental .

He suggested that depressed people tended to use a more pessimistic explanatory style when thinking about stressful events than did non-depressed people, who tended to be more optimistic in nature. As a means of illustrating explanatory style, let's pretend that you fail an exam.

  • Depression and Learned Helplessness
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In response, you could think: Individuals who tend to view the causes of negative events as internal, global, and stable e. Individuals who tend to view the causes of negative events as external, specific, and unstable e. Individuals who become depressed are more likely to have pessimistic attributional styles than optimistic attributional styles. According to the revised learned helplessness theory, a pessimistic attributional style increases the likelihood of developing learned helplessness.

relationship between learned helplessness and human depression

In addition, prolonged exposure to uncontrollable and inescapable events can lead people to develop a pessimistic attributional style, and to become apathetic, pessimistic, and unmotivated, even if they are not that way to start An adaptation of this theory argues that depression results not only from helplessness, but also from hopelessness. The hopelessness theory attributes depression to a pattern of negative thinking in which people blame themselves for negative life events, view the causes of those events as permanent, and overgeneralize specific weaknesses to many areas of their life e.

relationship between learned helplessness and human depression

Thus, for Group 3 dogs, the shock was "inescapable". In Part 2 of the experiment the same three groups of dogs were tested in a shuttle-box apparatus a chamber containing two rectangular compartments divided by a barrier a few inches high. All of the dogs could escape shocks on one side of the box by jumping over a low partition to the other side. The dogs in Groups 1 and 2 quickly learned this task and escaped the shock.

Most of the Group 3 dogs — which had previously learned that nothing they did had any effect on shocks — simply lay down passively and whined when they were shocked.

Learned helplessness - Wikipedia

To prevent such interfering behavior, Group 3 dogs were immobilized with a paralyzing drug curareand underwent a procedure similar to that in Part 1 of the Seligman and Maier experiment. When tested as before in Part 2, these Group 3 dogs exhibited helplessness as before. This result serves as an indicator for the ruling out of the interference hypothesis.

From these experiments, it was thought that there was to be only one cure for helplessness.

relationship between learned helplessness and human depression

In Seligman's hypothesis, the dogs do not try to escape because they expect that nothing they do will stop the shock. To change this expectation, experimenters physically picked up the dogs and moved their legs, replicating the actions the dogs would need to take in order to escape from the electrified grid. This had to be done at least twice before the dogs would start willfully jumping over the barrier on their own. In contrast, threats, rewards, and observed demonstrations had no effect on the "helpless" Group 3 dogs.

For example, in one experiment, humans performed mental tasks in the presence of distracting noise. Those who could use a switch to turn off the noise rarely bothered to do so, yet they performed better than those who could not turn off the noise.

Simply being aware of this option was enough to substantially counteract the noise effect.

Learned helplessness

Animals that lacked control failed to exhibit this neural effect and showed signs consistent with learned helplessness and social anxiety. Expanded theories[ edit ] Research has found that a human's reaction to feeling a lack of control differs both between individuals and between situations. She did well during her first semester. She reacted with great despair because students needed at least a B in the program in order to maintain their status. She now feared that one more low grade on a quiz and she would lose her placement in the school.

relationship between learned helplessness and human depression

She seriously considered dropping out of the program. Coined by clinical psychologist Martin Seligman many years ago, the term refers to the fact that no matter what a person does they cannot change a situation. Frustrated by the fact that she had experienced several situations that ended poorly for her, Susan was convinced that there was nothing she could do with regard to her grade on the quiz and her status in the nursing school.

In point of fact, all students in the class scored poorly, indicating that the quiz was not valid.

Learned helplessness, depression, and anxiety.

She and the other students never considered discussing the issue with the teacher or with the student advisor. Indeed, Susan had learned that she was helpless because, no matter what she did, she would be defeated in nursing school.

That was why she wanted to quit the program. Seligman concluded that certain types of depression could be caused by defeat, failure and loss. Based in cognitive psychology, the individual who suffers from learned helplessness or depression, thinks in ways that are negative. For example, Susan was telling herself that there was nothing left for her to do except quit school.