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Learned Helplessness and Superstitious Behavior as Opposite Effects of Uncontrollable Reinforcement in Humans

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Abstract

Learned helplessness and superstition accounts of uncontrollability predict opposite results for subjects exposed to noncontingent reinforcement. Experiment 1 used the instrumental-cognitive triadic design proposed by Hiroto and Seligman (1975) for the testing of learned helplessness in humans, but eliminated the "failure light" that they introduced in their procedure. Results showed that Yoked subjects tend to superstitious behavior and illusion of control during exposure to uncontrollable noise. This, in turn, prevents the development of learned helplessness because uncontrollability is not perceived. In Experiment 2, the failure feedback manipulation was added to the Yoked condition. Results of this experiment replicate previous findings of a proactive interference effect in humans—often characterized as learned helplessness. This effect, however, does not support learned helplessness theory because failure feedback is needed for its development. It is argued that conditions of response-independent reinforcement commonly used in human research do not lead to learned helplessness, but to superstitious behavior and illusion of control. Different conditions could lead to learned helplessness, but the limits between superstition and helplessness have not yet been investigated.
... The first ROAT uses a negative reinforcement paradigm where correct responses terminate an aversive stimuli (the controllable condition). The second ROAT is an uncontrollable condition where participants have to detect the impossibility of control, based on the comparison with the controllable one (Matute 1994). Gambling can be viewed as a ROAT, whereby gamblers need to learn the extent to which they have control over the outcomes-a task DGs likely fail. ...
... In studying the mechanisms that prevented learned helplessness and behavior extinction, Matute (1994Matute ( , 1995 used Hiroto and Seligman's paradigm to demonstrate that if the feedback light was suppressed, individuals developed superstitious behaviors and illusion of control instead of learned helplessness (Matute 1994(Matute , 1995. However, these studies introduced an analytical element by asking participants to stop the aversive noise by finding a code of two numbers out of three possible digits that could stop it, calling it a response-outcome analytical test (ROAT). ...
... In studying the mechanisms that prevented learned helplessness and behavior extinction, Matute (1994Matute ( , 1995 used Hiroto and Seligman's paradigm to demonstrate that if the feedback light was suppressed, individuals developed superstitious behaviors and illusion of control instead of learned helplessness (Matute 1994(Matute , 1995. However, these studies introduced an analytical element by asking participants to stop the aversive noise by finding a code of two numbers out of three possible digits that could stop it, calling it a response-outcome analytical test (ROAT). ...
Article
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Gambling Disorder (GD) is characterized by persistent betting even in face of accruing debts and psychosocial hardship. Gambling Disorder behavior has been linked to conditioning, cognitive distortions and superstitious behavior. Previous studies have demonstrated that during response-outcome analytical tests (ROAT), non-gambling individuals are precluded from response extinction when failure feedback is suppressed, and develop superstitious behaviors and illusion of control instead. Gambling can be regarded as a ROAT paradigm in which disordered gamblers (DGs) fail to compute failure feedback; hence they do not perceive the independence between response and outcome. In order to investigate early phenomena on response and outcome processing in DGs, we developed two short ROAT versions, one with a controllable outcome and one with an uncontrollable outcome, both with explicit failure feedback. Twenty DGs and twenty healthy controls were assessed using this novel paradigm. Compared to controls, DGs reported higher distress during the controllable ROAT, less self-confidence in the uncontrollable ROAT, and more random responses and less use of analytical strategies in both tests, evidencing potential deficits in cognitive control. In contrast to previous findings, DGs did not demonstrate more superstitious beliefs, or illusion of control, and were generally more skeptical than controls regarding the controllability of both ROAT versions. Taken together, our findings provide some support for deficits in cognitive control in GD that precede illusion of control and superstitious behaviors.
... Это похоже на основной постулат теории выученной беспомощности, который заключается в том, что люди, сталкиваясь с неконтролируемыми событиями, развивают ожидания неконтролируемости событий, что приводит к искажению их суждений о контроле их действий на последующие события (Abramson et al. 1978;Seligman M. E. P., 1975). Когда люди сталкиваются с неконтролируемыми результатами они развивают иллюзию контроля Matute (1994Matute ( , 1995, но, с другой стороны, существуют сообщения что при столкновении с неконтролируемыми результатами формируется выученная беспомощность, характеризуемая снижением мотивации и когнитивных способностей (Abramson L. Y. et al., 1978;Hiroto D. S. & Seligman M. E. P., 1975). Matute (1994) предположила, что эти противоречивые результаты возникают из процедурных различий. ...
... Когда люди сталкиваются с неконтролируемыми результатами они развивают иллюзию контроля Matute (1994Matute ( , 1995, но, с другой стороны, существуют сообщения что при столкновении с неконтролируемыми результатами формируется выученная беспомощность, характеризуемая снижением мотивации и когнитивных способностей (Abramson L. Y. et al., 1978;Hiroto D. S. & Seligman M. E. P., 1975). Matute (1994) предположила, что эти противоречивые результаты возникают из процедурных различий. ...
... И наоборот, в исследованиях, в которых наблюдалась иллюзия контроля, обратная связь не была частью процедуры. Matute (1994) . ...
Thesis
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Studies of people's beliefs about how much they control events have shown that people often overestimate the extent to which the result depends on their own behavior. Studies of people's beliefs about how much they control events have shown that people often overestimate the extent to which the result depends on their own behavior. The purpose of this study is to assess the relationship of emotional characteristics and formulation of the question on the illusion of control, depending on the desirable and undesirable results. In the study, it was assumed that the illusion of control depends on the amount of effort applied to achieve the result. It has also been suggested to reduce the illusion of control when asking a causal question in the case where the result is desirable and the participant acts to make that result appear, and in the case where the result is undesirable and the subject acts to prevent it from occurring. The influence of the cause-effect question and emotional characteristics on the value of the illusion of control, measured by the self-esteem of the subjects was not found. There was also no correlation between the amount of effort and the illusion of control.
... Although Staddon and Simmelhag's (1971) proposal can account for the superstition experiments with pigeons, similar experiments have also been conducted with humans, under conditions that are difficult to interpret as Pavlovian behavior, such as, for instance, responding for (adventitious) points in a computerized task (e.g., Benvenuti, de Toledo, Simões, & Bizarro, 2018;Matute, 1994). These experiments cannot be interpreted as suggested by Staddon and Simmelhag, and add support to Skinner's proposal of adventitious reinforcement. ...
... These experiments cannot be interpreted as suggested by Staddon and Simmelhag, and add support to Skinner's proposal of adventitious reinforcement. In addition, these experiments have shown that superstitious behavior in humans is accompanied by illusions of causality (e.g., Benvenuti et al., 2018;Matute, 1994). Moreover, laboratory experiments with humans have been related to everyday superstitions and show that the illusion of causality is stronger in people who endorse higher levels of superstitious and paranormal beliefs O. Griffiths, Shehabi, Murphy, & Le Pelley, 2018). ...
Article
Many experiments have shown that humans and other animals can detect contingency between events accurately. This learning is used to make predictions and to infer causal relationships, both of which are critical for survival. Under certain conditions, however, people tend to overestimate a null contingency. We argue that a successful theory of contingency learning should explain both results. The main purpose of the present review is to assess whether cue-outcome associations might provide the common underlying mechanism that would allow us to explain both accurate and biased contingency learning. In addition, we discuss whether associations can also account for causal learning. After providing a brief description on both accurate and biased contingency judgments, we elaborate on the main predictions of associative models and describe some supporting evidence. Then, we discuss a number of findings in the literature that, although conducted with a different purpose and in different areas of research, can also be regarded as supportive of the associative framework. Finally, we discuss some problems with the associative view and discuss some alternative proposals as well as some of the areas of current debate. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
... As has been discussed in chapter 2, many variables have been investigated in relation to physiotherapy adherence, including beliefs / knowledge about treatment or therapist, psychological, demographic, illness and physical characteristics, and treatment variables. Some of the variables thought to influence adherence behaviour include self-efficacy, initial adherence, intention, physical and cognitive ability (Dunbar-Jacob & Mortimer-Stephens, 2001) and depression and anxiety (Matute, 1994). Theory and previous research will be used to determine which variables are controlled for. ...
Thesis
p> The primary objective of the current programme of research was to determine the effects of cognitive variables (self-efficacy and outcome expectations) and other factors (affective state and aversive feedback) on adherence. First, a laboratory based simulation study was used, as this enabled isolation of the influence that aversive feedback (simulating the effect of pain) had on adherence. Self-efficacy, outcome expectations and affective state were assessed at baseline and after early experience of the simulation. Adherence behaviour was recorded by the computer programme throughout the simulation. In a follow-up study, a longitudinal field study measured self-efficacy, outcome expectations, affective state and pain at baseline and after early experience of physiotherapy. Adherence was assessed 8 weeks after starting treatment. In both studies, self-efficacy, outcome expectations, affective state and aversive feedback served as the independent variables, and various aspects of adherence behaviour formed the dependent variables. More positive cognitions predicted how long participants persisted with the simulated physiotherapy task and real world physiotherapy. Presence of aversive feedback in the laboratory study resulted in slower than instructed responding. Increased pain in the field study was also associated with poorer adherence during sessions. Simulated and perceived recovery, in the laboratory and field studies respectively, was related to both cognitions and aversive feedback. The conclusions were that both cognitions and aversive feedback were important to adherence behaviour. In addition, it was evident that different factors were important to different aspects of adherence behaviour. </p
... L'individu s'appuie sur ses expériences passées et sur l'environnement pour évaluer le degré de contrôle qu'il est capable d'exercer (Bandura, 1977;Blanco, 2017;Langer, 1975;Leotti et al., 2010). Cependant, l'individu n'est pas toujours capable d'exercer de façon exacte le contrôle qu'il souhaiterait (pertes de contrôle, Brevers & Noël, 2013) et d'estimer de façon optimale le degré de contrôle qu'il possède sur ses 1 Proposition de traduction par l'auteur de ce document à partir de la version anglaise : « Accept responsibility » 2 Message de la Française Des Jeux (FDJ) 3 Message du Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) conduites et sur son environnement (biais de surestimation et de sous-estimation du contrôle) (Blanco, 2017;Bouffard, Vezeau, Chouinard, & Marcotte, 2006;Chassangre & Callahan, 2017;Hiroto & Seligman, 1975;Langer, 1975;Matute, 1994). Ces biais trouvent leur origine tant dans les caractéristiques intrinsèques de l'individu que dans des caractéristiques situationnelles et structurelles de l'activité en cours (voir p. ex. ...
Thesis
Dans les jeux de hasard et d’argent (JHA), l’individu est exposé à au moins deux paradoxes. Le premier paradoxe est relatif au contrôle : d’une part, le joueur croit pouvoir contrôler le jeu en vue d’augmenter ses chances de gain (illusion de contrôle) et, d’autre part, il a tendance à perdre le contrôle de ses impulsions. Pour jouer sans risque, le joueur devrait donc jouer de manière contrôlée mais sans tenter de contrôler le jeu. Le second paradoxe réside dans le besoin, pour les opérateurs de jeu, de commercialiser les jeux tout en cherchant à prévenir les risques liés aux JHA. Ils doivent, notamment, aider le joueur à garder le contrôle de ses impulsions. A cette fin, les opérateurs de jeu utilisent des messages de prévention promouvant le Jeu Responsable (p. ex. « Pour que le jeu reste un jeu »). Selon nous, ces messages pourraient être ambigus et véhiculer des intentions promotionnelles au joueur, plutôt que préventives. Le but de cette thèse est alors d’examiner la compréhension des messages promouvant le Jeu Responsable. Nous étudions l’ambiguïté de leur contenu sémantique ainsi que l’influence de facteurs extrinsèques au message (i.e. les caractéristiques de la source et du récepteur) sur la compréhension du message. Quatre expériences ont été conduites en ligne auprès de 1438 participants. Les résultats de ces études montrent que les messages de prévention promouvant le Jeu Responsable agissent comme une injonction paradoxale : ils sont ambigus (Expérience 1) et peuvent être compris à la fois comme des messages de prévention et des messages de promotion du jeu (Expérience 2). En situation réelle de jeu, ces messages augmentent la prise de risque du joueur par rapport à des messages informatifs clairs (Expérience 3). De plus, nous avons montré que les messages de prévention, qu’ils soient clairs ou ambigus, sont mieux compris lorsque le message est perçu comme provenant du gouvernement plutôt que d’un opérateur de jeu et lorsque la crédibilité de la source est élevée. En revanche, les attitudes et la familiarité des joueurs avec le jeu ou leur niveau de risque de jeu pathologique n’influencent pas la compréhension du message dans notre échantillon (Expérience 4). Cette thèse montre que les messages actuellement utilisés par les opérateurs de jeu ne sont pas adaptés pour prévenir du jeu excessif. Notre travail contribue donc à l’amélioration des stratégies de communication préventive des opérateurs de jeux et des gouvernements. Version intégrale disponible ici : https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-03233558
... Each of these reasons for the utilization of prayer, which is the most common "religious ritual" in sports, reveals a vast depth to human cognitive processes which are not found in the practice of "sport superstitions." Apparently also absent from the practice of "sport superstitions" is the overwhelming sense of control over high-stress and uncertain situations (Matute, 1994). Burke (2006) points out that athletes often feel subject to control by superstitions even though he acknowledges that superstitions usually offer no logical progression that facilitates skill performance. ...
Article
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This article discusses the use of superstition and religious rituals within sport. While the popular view among skeptics seems to be that religious ritual is nothing more than superstition, I argue that while there admittedly are many similarities, there also exist major differences which separate superstition and religious ritual into distinct entities. The realm of sport is one widely known for the numerous exhibitions of both superstition and religious ritual. The examples of sport-related superstition and religious ritual are so numerous that they have even gained noted media attention in the past two decades. Thus, I situate both terms within the practical framework of sport participation. From this foundation, I define both terms in context and begin to examine the effects on athletes' individual holistic development arguing that religious ritual leads ultimately to a greater holistic development than does superstition. Holistic development is examined in four aspects which are comprised of physiology, emotionality, intellectuality, and spirituality. The positive effects of religious ritual as applied within athletics are mentioned in each aforementioned category. I approach the topic from the perspective of the psychology of religion, sports psychology, as well as Judeo-Christian theological concepts regarding religious ritual. The numerous positive benefits of religious ritual over superstition within athletics lead to a final argument that religious ritual provides significant meaning to the lives of athletes in a way which superstition is simply unable.
... Vor allem aber dürfte das Gefühl, Glück gehabt zu haben ganz wesentlich davon abhängen, inwieweit eine Person über haupt abergläubige Überzeugungen hegt (und beispiels weise an die Wirkung eines Glücksklees glaubt). An keiner Stelle der Originalarbeit jedoch stellen Damisch et al. (2010) Matute (1994) vermutet, dass die Umstände oder die bevorstehende Auf gabe herausfordernd genug sein müssen, um die Wirkung von Aberglauben auf Leistung überhaupt beobachten zu können. Auch für den vermuteten Mediator Selbstwirk samkeitserwartung ist in der Literatur angenommen und gezeigt worden, dass dies vor allem bei Schwierigkeiten nachfolgendes Verhalten beeinflusst (Bandura, 1997). ...
Article
Zusammenfassung. Damisch, Stoberock und Mussweiler (2010) zeigten in einer Reihe von Experimenten, dass die Induktion von abergläubigen Glücksüberzeugungen im Vergleich zu einer Kontrollgruppe zu einer besseren Leistung in unterschiedlichen kognitiven und motorischen Aufgaben führt. Wir führten zwei konzeptuelle Replikationen ( N Studie 1 = 101, N Studie 2 = 175) eines der Experimente durch, in denen wir untersuchten, ob Versuchspersonen in einer Online-Studie durch die Induktion Glück zu haben, bessere Leistungen beim Lösen von Anagrammaufgaben zeigten als die Kontrollgruppe und untersuchten dabei in Studie 2 mit einem anderen Manipulationsstimulus zusätzlich den Effekt von Pechinduktion auf die Leistung. Des Weiteren wurde in beiden Studien der Effekt der Induktion auf die Selbstwirksamkeitserwartung untersucht. Den Hypothesen widersprechend zeigte sich kein statistisch signifikanter Effekt der Glücks- bzw. Pechinduktion auf die Leistung. Auf die Selbstwirksamkeitserwartung zeigte sich nur in Studie 2 ein kleiner Effekt. Zu geringe Teststärke und nicht erfolgreiche Manipulation können in beiden Studien als Ursache für die erfolglose Replikation ausgeschlossen werden. Wir diskutieren, dass Effekte von Glücks-Induktionen auf Leistung offensichtlich nur unter sehr spezifischen, oft nicht replizierbaren Randbedingungen gezeigt werden können.
... In experimental settings, such ambient noise has been induced through simple devices: a noisy printer; a "malfunctioning" computer cooling fan (see also Kruglanski & Webster, 1996), or even a simple dull beep (Disatnik & Steinhart, 2015). Matute (1994) even found that participants evinced a tendency toward magical behaviour and illusions of control when exposed to an uncontrollable noise (i.e. a 3000-Hz tone which lasted for 5 seconds). Consequently, if ambient noise can be assumed to increase cognitive load, then ambient noise should increase a tendency to engage in behaviours that represent a motivation to achieve closure, for example, adhering to one's own existing opinion in a decision event where one possesses either prior or more complete information. ...
Research Proposal
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The questions of why people believe in supernatural agents, and why such beliefs are so widespread, have occupied the attention of scholars old and new alike. Psychologists of religion, and particularly practitioners of the cognitive science of religion, have sought out psychological mechanisms which underpin the cross-cultural prevalence of beliefs in and representations of supernatural agency. The purpose of the proposed study is to test compensatory control theory by assessing whether experimental threats to one's sense of personal control predict or causally contribute to various supernatural agency representations across distinct cultures (Fiji, New Zealand, and India). In particular, I propose the use of three experiments to test explanations where the impact of control threats on supernatural agency representations is further facilitated by need for closure, a motivational construct representing preferences for order, certainty, and predictability. [Version reloaded to remove personal information]
Thesis
This study aims to investigate common superstition beliefs, superstition beliefs in its relationship with suggestibility, locus of control and some demographic variables (gender- academic specialization – academic achievement) among Cairo University students. The study sample consists of (820) males and females from University students, the number of males is (399), with an average age of (20, 70) years, and a standard deviation of (1, 62) years, whereas (420) females, with an average age of (20, 64) years, and a standard deviation of (1, 36) years. This sample was selected from seven colleges: three theoretical and four practical colleges, distributed on (second- third- fourth –fifth) years of study. Three scales have been applied to the sample: scale of superstitions beliefs, suggestibility scale and locus of control scale with consideration of the psychometric features for these scales. The statistical analysis leads to the following results: First: regarding the common superstition beliefs and its domains, there are some common superstitious detected in the total sample, represented in superstitious about optimism, pessimism and future prediction, Also, in superstitions about both taboos and statutes, as well as superstitions about magic and supernatural events are shared by the entire sample. Factorial analysis results exposed the regularity of superstition in (8) for males and (7) for females, which means that superstition phenomenon are regulated in correlative system. Second: with regard to the results about the relationship between superstition beliefs and two personality traits, there is a significant positive correlation between superstition beliefs and the degree of suggestibility, i.e whenever the degree of suggestibility increases, the belief in superstitions increases. Moreover, we could find significant positive correlation between superstition beliefs and external locus of control; if the event is beyond the control of the individual, the belief in superstition increases. Third: regarding the findings about the relationship between superstition beliefs and some demographic variables which are (gender- academic specialization – level of academic achievement), it is found that there are higher levels of female belief in superstitions than males, Also the students in theoretical specialization believed more in superstition, compared to students of practical specialization specializations. However, there are no differences in superstitious beliefs between students of both higher and lower academic achievement. Finally, the study introduced a number of recommendations for future studies in this topic. Keywords: Superstition beliefs, Suggestibility, Locus of control, External locus of control, Internal locus of control
Article
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The present literature review focused on social and psychological factors associated with superstition. The literature included conceptual definition of superstition, prevalence and its probable underlying factors. It also sheds light upon the pros and cons for adherence with superstitious beliefs. Number of online articles published in peer reviewed journals, book reviews, abstracts, conference proceedings and dissertations were reviewed with a specific focus for psycho-social effects of superstition. The findings revealed that superstitious beliefs are widely spread and there are socio- learning predispositions which lie at backdrop of superstition. Superstition casts negative and positive influences on psychological health of individuals. Overall the paper is a worthy contribution for articulated understanding of phenomenon of superstition and its associated factors which opens horizons for further related and in depth inquiries.
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A noncontingent success (NCS) reinforcement schedule for binary prediction is one in which the subject has the same probability (δ) of being correct regardless of which response he makes. These schedules may be contrasted with the more commonly studied noncontingent event (NCE) schedules in which the event probabilities are not contingent on the subject's choice of response, but the probability of his being correct is. The NCS schedules are examined here in connection with the problem of deciding experimentally between the linear and N element models for probability learning. It is shown that for mathematical reasons there is essentially no possibility of making such a decision on the basis of experiments with NCE schedules. Predictions for NCS schedules are then derived from the two models, and an experiment with two such schedules (δ = .8 and δ = 1.0) is reported. The results unequivocally support the N element model over the linear model, but under δ = 1 contingencies subjects generate patterned response sequences—“superstitious solutions”—that cannot be explained by any of the current models.
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Replication and extension of Skinner's "supersitition" experiment showed the development of 2 kinds of behavior at asymptote: (a) interim activities, related to adjunctive behavior, which occurred just after food delivery; and (b) the terminal response, a discriminated operant, which occurred toward the end of the interval and continued until food delivery. These data suggest a view of operant conditioning (the terminal response) in terms of 2 sets of principles: principles of behavioral variation that describe the origins of behavior appropriate to a situation, in advance of reinforcement; and principles of reinforcement that describe the selective elimination of behavior so produced. This approach was supported by (a) an account of the parallels between the law of effect and evolution by means of natural selection; (b) its ability to elucidate persistent problems in learning, e.g., continuity vs. noncontinuity, variability associated with extinction, the relationship between classical and instrumental conditioning, the controversy between behaviorist and cognitive approaches to learning; and (c) its ability to deal with a number of recent anomalies in the learning literature (instinctive drift, auto-shaping, and auto-maintenance). The interim activities are interpreted in terms of interactions among motivational systems, and this view is supported by a review of the literature on adjunctive behavior and by comparison with similar phenomena in ethology (displacement, redirection, and vacuum activities). The proposed theoretical scheme represents a shift away from hypothetical laws of learning toward an interpretation of behavioral change in terms of interaction and competition among tendencies to action according to principles evolved in phylogeny. (4 p. ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Attempted to test the learned helplessness hypothesis of J. B. Overmier and M. Seligman (see record 1967-04314-001) with 80 undergraduates. 4 groups differing in shock contingency were given a fixed level of shock, while a 2nd 4 groups were given a variable level of shock. 30 choice RT training trials were given in which 1 group could avoid shock, a 2nd and 3rd group received inescapable shock yoked to the escapable group (1 with a training task to perform and 1 without), and the 4th performed the task but with no shock. 10 test trials, in a completely different task, followed in which all Ss could avoid shock. Results reveal in all phases of the experiment that variable shock is superior to a fixed level as a stress inducer. Learned helplessness is offered as an explanation to the yoked group's lack of responses in test trials. Implications for investigation of learned helplessness in humans and for the use of variable shock are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Reviews the literature which examined the effects of exposing organisms to aversive events which they cannot control. Motivational, cognitive, and emotional effects of uncontrollability are examined. It is hypothesized that when events are uncontrollable the organism learns that its behavior and outcomes are independent, and this learning produces the motivational, cognitive, and emotional effects of uncontrollability. Research which supports this learned helplessness hypothesis is described along with alternative hypotheses which have been offered as explanations of the learned helplessness effect. The application of this hypothesis to rats and man is examined. (114 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Investigated failure to escape, the defining characteristic of learned helplessness, with perceived and instructed locus of control Ss in a learned-helplessness paradigm. 96 undergraduates in 3 groups, equally divided between internals and externals and counterbalanced for sex, received different treatments with an aversive tone prior to the testing for helplessness. Group I could neither escape nor avoid an aversive tone, Group II could escape the tone, and Group III was not exposed to the treatment. 18 escape-avoidance trials followed, using a human analogue to an animal shuttle box in which Ss received an instructional set describing the task as skill or chance determined. In addition to a complete replication of learned helplessness in man, externals were significantly more helpless than internals, and chance-set Ss more helpless than skill-set. Since uncontrollability of noise, externality, and chance instructional set all impaired escape-avoidance in parallel ways, it is speculated that a common state may underlie all 3 dimensions-expectancy that responding and reinforcement are independent. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Notes that learned helplessness-the interference with instrumental responding following inescapable aversive events-has been found in animals and man. The present study tested for the generality of the debilitation produced by uncontrollable events across tasks and motivational systems. 4 experiments with a total of 96 college students were simultaneously conducted: (a) pretreatment with inescapable, escapable, or control aversive tone followed by shuttlebox escape testing; (b) pretreatment with insoluble, soluble, or control discrimination problems followed by anagram solution testing; (c) pretreatments with inescapable, escapable, or control aversive tone followed by anagram solution testing; and (d) pretreatments with insoluble, soluble, or control discrimination problems followed by shuttlebox escape testing. Learned helplessness was found with all 4 experiments: Both insolubility and inescapability produced failure to escape and failure to solve anagrams. It is suggested that inescapability and insolubility both engendered expectancies that responding is independent of reinforcement. The generality of this process suggests that learned helplessness may be an induced "trait." (24 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Following the learned helplessness paradigm, the present study with 63 undergraduates assessed the hypothesized existence of a curvilinear relationship between experiences of no control and helpless behavior. Two factors thought to affect the impact of experiences with noncontingent reinforcement were investigated: the amount of helplessness training and the importance attributed to the training task. Helplessness training consisted of varying intensities of experience with noncontingent reinforcement on concept-formation-type problems in situations differing in perceived importance. Results demonstrate both facilitation and helplessness effects, and task importance and amount of training increased the likelihood of helplessness effects. Results are discussed in terms of possible qualifications of the effects of noncontingent reinforcement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Lick-suppression tests were used in seven experiments to assess the transsituational transfer of fear in the learned helplessness paradigm. Two sources of fear combined to suppress test drinking in inescapably shocked rats. A situational odor was strongly associated with shock pretreatments and mediated the transfer of conditioned fear during testing. Fear of the pretreatment odor was greater following inescapable shock than after escapable shock or restraint. This conditioned suppression was retained for at least 72 h after pretreatment. Neophobia was enhanced as a second, nonassociative reaction to inescapable shock. Unconditioned fear was augmented by a novel odor in the test context, but otherwise was weak and dissipated within 72 h. However, neophobia was necessary for differential conditioned suppression in inescapably shocked rats. The pretreatment odor elicited fear only when tested in a novel context. Initial habituation to the test apparatus reduced conditioned fear. These data provide additional evidence for odor-mediated transfer of helplessness. Conditioned fear and neophobia are discussed in relation to recent anxiety interpretations of the phenomenon.
Article
Ten dogs, the passive DRO (differential reinforcement of other behavior) group, were trained to escape electric shock in a Pavlov harness by inhibiting the head movements normally elicited by that electric shock. Ten other dogs, the yoked group, received in the harness inescapable electric shocks equivalent to those taken by the passive DRO group. A third group of 10 dogs, the naive control group, received no experience in the harness. All dogs subsequently received escape/avoidance training in a shuttlebox. The passive DRO group learned to escape/avoid in the shuttlebox more slowly than did the naive control group, but eventually learned. In contrast, half of the yoked Ss did not learn to escape. The relevance of these results for a theory of learned helplessness was discussed.
Article
Three experiments investigated the effects of restraint and of inescapable fixed duration preshocks on subsequent shuttlebox escape-from-shock learning. Fixed-intensity preshock, random-intensity preshock, and no-preshock conditions were included in each experiment. In Experiment 1, restraining the rat in a harness prior to escape training retarded escape acquisition. There was no effect of preshock. In Experiment 2, both restraint and high fixed-intensity (1.0 mA) preshock retarded escape acquisition, when escape training occurred either immediately or 24 hr after preshock. In Experiment 3, movement was punished by positively correlating preshock intensity with the rat's movement; this treatment retarded escape conditioning. No effects were found for low fixed-intensity or random-intensity preshock nor for a condition in which movement was rewarded during preshock. The retarding effects of restraint and certain types of preshock were explained in terms of interfering instrumental responses.