Learned Helplessness; Anagrams And Frustration Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


The previous contribution or efforts put by researchers on behaviorism played a pivotal role in evolving the concept of learned helplessness. Martin Seligman leveraging Pavlov’s experiments applied the concept of classical conditioning on dogs that helped him derived a phenomenon of an interesting nature.

The initial phase of the experiment, a bell was paired with the shock or alarm that was harmless while the dog was restricted or limited in the hammock. In the next phase the dog was placed in a box whose fence was not very high and it easily allows the dog to jump. According to the hypothesis the dog felt fear and jumped over the fence after getting shocked from the bell in several intervals.

The fear was prominent and immediate and resulted in quick reaction from the dog. On the contrary the dogs did not react to the bell when it was placed inside the box which made the result surprising for the researcher. This whole experiment concluded that dogs were aware that their efforts will be wasted if they try to avoid the shock as they cannot do anything about it. Therefore, they decided to give up and made no efforts to escape.

This entire experiment stated the fact that the dogs learned to be helpless as they realized that they have no control over the outcome. The results of the experiment made the scientists rethink on the ideas about behavior as these interesting results were contradicting the previous theories on behavior(Seligman, 1967).

The theory or idea of operant conditioning that states that a behavior becomes more or less likely if followed by a reward or a punishmentsimultaneously is seriously challenged due to these interesting results. The incident that challenges the idea or operant conditioning was the behavior of dogs that were witnessing punishment in the form of shocks.

The dogs did not react and sat there calmly and showed no reaction at all which made the scientist think about the concept of operant conditioning from a new perspective. On the other hand, there was no reaction form the dogs and even after continued punishment the action was not becoming less likely. The psychologists started to think that the environment does not control the reaction completely and the mind has more4 control over the reaction or behavior(Seligman, 1967).

The initial results or findings guided or encouraged the scientists or researchers to conduct studies or experiments of similar concept with humans. The researchers started designing similar studies and tow researchers initiated another experiment, but the test group this time was two groups of human babies.

Both of these groups were placed in a crib with one group having the control over the sensory motion while the other group only had the visibility of the sensory action and had no control. Later on, these groups were allowed to do the same task of controlling the mobile phone, but it was observed that the group which had the initial control surpassed this level as well(Watson, 1969).

On the other hand, the group that did not possess any control in the initial phase showed no effort in controlling the motion in the next phase as well. This result indicated that the group that had no control in the initial phase of the experiment showed no effort in the second phase because a norm was established in their mind that they cannot control it.

Similar results were obtained from other studies and experiments which made it clear that loss of control results in learned helplessness. Thus, these experiments indicate that humans try to seek results, but once the intended results are not obtained the action or level of motivation decline significantly. This whole concept results in learned helplessness and human show no desire of achieving those results.

Learned Helplessness; Anagrams And Frustration Case Solution

After various experiments, studies and researches on the topic of learned helplessness, it has been defined by the authors as the state when people have no control over success or failure is undefeatable. The various human issues either emotional or motivational are due to the learned helplessness as this mechanism contributes towards submissiveness, failure in an academic career or any other part of life, and a major cause of depression(Martin D. Ris, 1983).

Besides that, ithas also resulted in burnout in the office or at home and is the inability of the lower class that restricts them from improving their living standards or to enhance in their lives. Furthermore, clinical depression and other related mental illnesses occur due to learned helplessness as people have a loss of control or perceived that the outcome is not in their control(Maier, 1993).....................

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