ERIC Number: ED102937
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1975-Apr
Determinants of Learned Helplessness in Problem Solving.
Keller, John M.
Despite the support for the proposition that learning is enhanced by the reinforcement of correct responses, there remain learners who continue to fail when contingent reinforcement is administered, even though they may have the ability and be motivated to succeed. This condition, known as learned helplessness, presents a problem for instructional technology in that reinforcements do not strengthen a response. In this study, 54 subjects were given a training task that involved using a manipulandum to attempt to escape from an audible tone that was varied in amplitude from mild to aversive. It was found that subjects who were unable to escape during the acquisition trials showed the greatest decrement in performance during the transfer test. The study demonstrated that in laboratory settings, both instructions and reinforcement contingencies contribute to the development of learned helplessness. This phenomenon may be valuable to instructional technology because it will lead to a greater understanding of the etiology and treatment of chronic failure behavior which is independent of ability on the part of school children. (Author/DGC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology Annual Conference (April 14-17, 1975)