Learn that you can defend yourself
Martin Seligman had a comparative group in his famous experiment: in it were dogs, where the lever in the first cage worked. When they pressed it, the surge actually stopped. They learned the dogs quickly.
And when they came into the second cage, they were again looking for ways to escape the surge. Because this group of dogs had learned: I can do something against these annoying bumps. And they quickly found out what: They just went through the flap into the cage next door.
No matter what I do, it's wrong?
Martin Seligman called the fate of the first group a "learned helplessness" Someone once found out that he is seemingly powerless against an onerous condition - and eventually stops even trying to do anything about it. Even if he could easily escape this condition.
Now suppose again, you are the human being that you are. Do you know the situation with the dogs from your own life? It happens quite often that someone says: "No matter what I do, it's always wrong, I can not change my situation."
The baby experiment
Learned helplessness was later detected in humans. With babies, for example, a similar experiment was performed as with the dogs. No, without electric shock. But they shook them violently in their crib, that was quite different.
Some could do it with a head movement, a sensor in their pillow. Others did not have a sensor. Both groups reacted the same way as the dogs. And one group went to the dogs. Even beyond the baby's age we show similar reactions.
See the way out, if there is one
Now there are situations like that with the Chef in the example from above. Since we are exposed to the arbitrariness of others and may actually be helpless.
The problem in this case is that we can not see any way out even if suddenly there is one, for example if the old boss leaves and a new boss comes. Even then, we continue to think, "What I do does not count for those up there anyway."
Where do you find the studies?
- Seligman, MEP, Maier, SF (1967): Failure to Escape Traumatic Shock. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 74, 1 - 9.
- Seligman, MEP (1979): Learned helplessness. Munich, Vienna, Baltimore: Urban and Schwarzenberg.
- Hiroto, DS, Seligman, MEP (1975): Generality of Learned Helplessness in Man. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, 311 - 327.
More knowledge - Podcast, PDF download, eCourse or personal advice
Offline download: Download this text as PDF - Read usage rights, Because we do not automatically submit the title of this text for privacy reasons: When buying in "interests" the title register if support is needed. After buying text exclusively Download at this URL (please save).
Listen to Podcast & Download MP3: You can listen to this text for free, as member even without annoying popup, or download the MP3 for a fee - Read usage rights, After the purchase page refresh, then you will find the download link here. Because we do not automatically submit the title of this podcast for privacy reasons: When buying in "interests" the title register if support is needed.
Your eCourse on Demand: Choose your personal eCourse on this or another desired topic, As a PDF download. Up to 30 lessons with each 4 learning task + final lesson. Please enter the title under "interests". Alternatively, we are happy to put together your course for you or offer you a personal regular eMailCourse including supervision and certificate - all further information!
Consultant packages: You want to increase your reach or address applicants as an employer? For these and other topics we offer special Consultant packages (overview) - For example, a personal phone call (price is per hour).