Learning To Be Depressed Summary

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In Martin Seligman and Steve Maier’s study Learning to be Depressed they challenge the importance of power and control in our psychological and physical health. They believe that our actions are contingent upon a certain consequence and are therefore motivated by a belief that all efforts will lead to a better outcome. This means that our expectations cause us to behave in ways that will produce desirable consequences while avoiding behaviors that will lead to undesirable consequences. In this experiment they looked at what makes us feel helpless and how this is can be a learned feeling. They theorize that when our efforts of controlling our lives fail repeatedly the attempt to exercise control may stop. If failure continues, the idea that…show more content…
They also had panels on either side of the head which kept the it forward and for the escape group those panels could be pressed and function as their control over the shocks. During the experiment each dog in the escape group was paired with a dog in the no-escape group and thus when the electrical shocks were given only the escape group could terminate the shock. Therefore the no-escape group would develop this feeling of helplessness due to the lack of control over the shocks. Sixty four shocks later that part of the experiment was complete. After a day of rest, all three groups are tested in a shuttle box which had lights on either side that would turn off ten seconds before the electric shocks began. There were sixty seconds of electric shocks and each dog was given ten trials. They measured the dogs learning by the time it took from when the light turned off for the dog to escape by jumping over the barrier and the percentage of dogs in each group that failed entirely in escaping. They found that every participant in the escape group escaped, took twenty eight seconds on average to escape and the time it took each dog decreased over the trials. In the no-harness control group only twelve percent failed yet had close to twenty eight seconds on average to escape as well. Lastly, with the no-escape group fifty seconds was the average time to

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