14 Learned Helplessness & Happiness Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in 14 Learned Helplessness & Happiness Deck (24)
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Describe Seligman and Maier's initial 1967 learned helplessness experiment?

Tripartite design - dogs in three conditions
1. Control - no shock
2. Escape - can turn off shock with button press
3. Yoked control - shock turned off by escape group (both dogs shocked at same time)

After exposed to multiple shocks, dogs placed in shuttle box.

When exposed to shock in shuttle box, Control and Escape groups had mean latency of around 25s to escape shock; Yoked Control group had mean latency of around 48s - they had learned that responding did not reduce shock -> "learned helplessness" - motivational apathy. Even when dogs DID escape they didn't appear to learn - cognitive impairment.


What affective changes were observed in Yoked Control group?

Apathy, stopped eating, looked depressed.


What three effects are associated with learned helplessness?

- Motivational - doesn't try to avoid aversive state
- Cognitive - ability to learn how to avoid aversive state is impaired. Experience with non-contingency interferes with learning about contingencies. Learn not to learn. This generalises to other environments - trans-situationality.
- Emotional - depression, apathy


How did the idea of learned helplessness change ideas about reinforcement?

Showed that contingency, not just contiguity, was important for learning. The Yoked Control group WERE being reinforced for correct behaviour in the shuttle box, they were just failing to learn the S-R contingency -> cognitive aspect. Link between failure to learn and affective state (depression).


Which bits of information are needed to determine a contingency?

Probability that Y will occur after X

Probability that Y will occur in absence of X


What is the formula for contingency?

ΔP = p(C/R) - p(C/noR)
Contingency = 0 if there is no connection between response (R) and consequence (C)


In what cases do people report subjective feeling of control?

Positive relation b/w response R and consequence C (behaviour can induce C)
ΔP = p(C/R) - p(C/noR) > 0

Negative relation b/w response R and consequence C (behaviour inhibits C)
ΔP = p(C/R) - p(C/noR) < 0
Eg. negative reinforcement - behaviour switches off something aversive


In what contingency scenarios does learned helplessness occur?

No relation b/w response and consequence
ΔP = p(C/R) - p(C/noR) = 0


What are two links between learned helplessness and depression?

1. Similar surface characteristics
2. Anti-depressants block learned helplessness


What is "hopelesness depression"?

Person loses belief in ability to change state of affairs through own will - loses self-efficacy


What is depressive realism?

If people asked to rate their level of control over outcomes, depressive people make more realistic assessments (tank game eg)


What did Langer and Rodin's study of an old people's home prove about the effect of sense of control on well-being?

Increasing control over environment improves well-being.

In an old people's home, people on one floor were given control over their environment (care for pot plant, decide whether to watch TV). On this floor there more people out of beds socialising, chatting with nurses, more alert – compared with level with no control over environment.


What two types of happiness are traditionally defined?

State happiness - hedonia (pleasure)
Trait happiness - eudaimonia (a life well-lived)


What three pieces of evidence are there that happiness does not depend on happy events?

1. Strong happiness concordance in M/Z twins raised apart.

2. Un/pleasant things happen to happy and unhappy people equally - no correlation.

3. Old people report that they're happy, despite absence of happy events.


What is Bentham's Greatest Happiness Principle?

One must always act so as to produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people, within reason.


What is the Easterlin Paradox?

Income per capita in the US has increased; happiness hasn't.


Up to what point, on average, does salary correlate with happiness?

Up to a salary of $75,000.


One explanation why greater income doesn't produce significantly greater happiness?

Because happiness appears to depend more on perceived wellbeing (or wealth) than on actual wealth. This makes sense evolutionarily, as wealth conveys a selective advantage only relative to the wealth of other members of the group


What has greater effect on happiness - gaining $1,000 or losing $1,000?

Losing $1,000


What are the three attributional dimensions?

1. Internal vs external - was it me or the world?

2. Global vs. specific - does it happen everywhere or just here?

3. Permanent vs temporary - does it always happen or just in this case?


What is the self-serving bias?

The tendency to attribute one's successes to internal factors and failures to external factors


What are the three cornerstones of happiness, selon Seligman?

1. Pleasure/enjoyment - how people experience the pleasant things in life

2. Engagement - the beneficial effect of immersing in a primary activity - flow

3. Meaning/affiliation - pleasure of belonging or contributing to a group or cause


What did Headey, Muffels and Wagner (2010) discover about well-being from German socioeconomic data?

Individuals' well-being is not fixed - it can change considerably throughout their lives


What were the 9 factors isolated by Headey et al. as contributing to happiness?

1. Be extroverted, don’t be neurotic
2. Have a high priority for humanitarian &/or family goals, a low priority for materialistic ones
3. Have a long-‐term partner  
4. If you have a partner, he or she should:
  a. Not be neurotic,
  b. Have a high priority for altruistic & family goals
5. Attend church
6. Don’t work too much or too little
7. Exercise
8. Participate in social activities
9. Don’t be fat.