The Empirical and Theoretical Basis of Human Learned Helplessness

  • Mario Mikulincer
Part of the The Springer Series in Social/Clinical Psychology book series (SSSC)


What happens when an organism is exposed to uncontrollable outcomes? Will it persevere in trying to control the outcome, or will it give up? Will this experience have an impact on the organism’s functioning in subsequent tasks and situations? Dealing with these questions, Overmaier and Seligman (1967) and Seligman and Maier (1967) exposed dogs to inescapable shocks and found that the animals apparently gave up trying and passively succumbed to the shock. These behaviors, which reflect the interference produced by uncontrollable outcomes on adaptive responses, have been labeled learned helplessness (LH).


Coping Strategy Coping Action Shock Termination Learn Helplessness Inescapable Shock 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mario Mikulincer
    • 1
  1. 1.Bar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

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