Learned Helplessness

Faraz Saberi
2023-05-01
조회수 163


Learned helplessness is a phenomenon in social psychology that occurs when individuals feel powerless and unable to change their circumstances, even when they have the ability to do so. This happens after repeated experiences of failure or negative outcomes, leading to a belief that any effort to improve the situation would be futile.

The term "learned helplessness" was coined by psychologist Martin Seligman in the 1960s. Seligman and his colleagues conducted experiments on dogs and found that when they were subjected to unavoidable electric shocks, they eventually gave up trying to escape even when they had the opportunity to do so.

This concept has been applied to humans as well, with researchers studying the effects of learned helplessness on various aspects of life, including mental health, physical health, and academic achievement.

For example, a student who continually receives low grades despite their efforts may begin to believe that they are inherently bad at the subject, leading to a sense of helplessness and lack of motivation. Similarly, an individual in an abusive relationship may feel trapped and powerless to leave, even if they have the resources and support to do so.

In contrast, individuals who have experienced success and positive outcomes are more likely to believe that their efforts can make a difference and are therefore more likely to take proactive steps towards achieving their goals.

It is important to note that learned helplessness is not a permanent state and can be overcome through various interventions, such as therapy, positive reinforcement, and cognitive restructuring.


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