Martin Seligman (1975), founder of positive psychology
introduced learned helplessness model of
This theory helped to understand the development of
This theory was explained in an experiment by preventing a
dog from escaping electric shocks, and it will stop trying to
Learned helplessness explains how exposure to trauma that is
impossible to avoid may lead to apathy, passivity, and a
conviction that escaping future traumatic events
is also impossible.
Learned helplessness refers to a state in which
"uncontrollable, unpredictable aversive events, which leads to
a failure to learn avoidance or an escape response to that
event even when it is avoidable or escapable".
Seligman's theory states that learned
helplessness is s form of depression.
Depressed people seem to lack normal emotions and become
somewhat apathetic, often staying in unpleasant work
environments or bad marriages or relationships rather that
trying to escape or better their situation. (Ciccarelli &
- Effects of learned helplessness include decreased effort and
persistence, reduced learning, belief that outcomes do not
depend on behavior and anxiety or depression.
Ciccareloi SK, Meyer GE. Psychology: South Asia Edition. Pearson
Education & Dorling Kindersley (India) Pvt. Ld., New Delhi,
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