Lecture 8: Helplessness and happiness Flashcards Preview

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*Why did Seligman & Maier use a tripartite design?

their theory of learned helplessness is based on tripartite: motivational, cognitive, and emotional aspect

1. a role for contingency and not mere contiguity in earning
2. a role for cognitions in learning, behaviour, and motivation
3. its link to depression


*What are the long term effects of uncontrollable stressors?

Obtain symptoms of depression (motivational, cognitive, emotional aspects)


* What does Δp=0 mean?

when learned helplessness shows no relation between Response and Consequence

(Contingency learning)
[Probability that Y will occur after X - Probability that Y will not occur after X = 0]
When a response does not predict an outcome (or an outcome occurs without a response)


*What are the different ways people attribute success or failure, and how does this affect helplessness or happiness?

Having more control -> less helplessness
attribute events by:
1. internal vs external
2. global vs. specific
3. permanent vs temporary

happiness comes from a life of meaning and engagement, not just satisfaction
1. pleasure/enjoyment (experiences)
2. engagement (immersing in activities)
3. meaning/affiliation (belonging to a group)


*What are the major differences between ‘setpoint’ and utilitarian views of happiness?

Set point: disposition of our personalities
Utilitarian: work -> happiness
set-point theory of happiness:
- our disposition determines our happiness
- happiness is largely a stable, internal trait

- individuals are motivated to maximize their utility (utility = satisfaction)
- happiness should be amenable to change if conditions are set so that people can maximize their utilty


what is the contingency learning formula?

ΔP = p(Y/X) - p(Y/noX)


People report a subjective feeling of control if:

1. Positive relation between response R and
consequence C (behaviour can induce C)
2. Negative relation between response R and
consequence C (behaviour can inhibit C)


ΔP = p(C/R) - p(C/noR) > 0 means?

Positive relation between response R and
consequence C (behaviour can induce C)


ΔP = p(C/R) - p(C/noR)

Negative relation between response R and
consequence C (behaviour can inhibit C)


experience with non-continngency interferes with learning about contingencies.

Learned Helpless


State vc Trait happinesss

1. pleasure of the moment
2. subjective well-being


What causes happiness?

1. Aristotle:
a. hedonia (pleasure)
b. eudaimonia (a life well-lived)

2. Modern:
a. happiness is determined by stable internal factors
b. happiness is determined by our external circumstances


being happy

1. strong genetic contribution (identical twins vs fraternal twins)
2. happy events makes us happy (pleasant things, unplesant things happen to happy people also, and older people have fewer happy events because they're less active)


what is learned helplessness

experience with non-contingency interferes with learning about contingencies