All posts tagged: learned helplessness

Learned Helplessness

Have you ever heard of the concept of learned helplessness?  There was a terrible experiment by US psychologist, Martin Seligman in 1967, where a dog is repeatedly exposed to an aversive stimulus which it cannot escape.  Eventually, the animal stops trying avoid the stimulus and behaves as if it is helpless to the change the stimulus.   When the opportunity to escape becomes available, learned helplessness means the animal does not take any action. (Seligman, M.E.P.; Maier, S.F. (1967). “Failure to escape traumatic shock”. Journal of Experimental Psychology 74: 1–9) What. The. Fuck. I need to go hug my cat now. When people feel that they have no control over a situation, they may also begin to behave in a helpless manner.  This inaction can lead people to overlook opportunities for relief or change.  Oftentimes, people tend to look for external forces to blame for failures.  The feeling of helplessness or out of control in any situation in uncomfortable and can cause secondary feelings of stress, depression and anxiety.


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