ERIC Number: ED243031
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Impaired Performance Criteria and Human Helplessness: Time to Give Up?
Jankovic, Irwin N.; And Others
The view that humans fail to solve certain types of problems because they are helpless and passive originated from a series of studies with animals; subsequent research attempted to replicate the findings of the learned helplessness behavior with humans. In an attempt to replicate and extend the Hiroto and Seligman (1975) study of humans exposed to uncontrollable events by investigating the relationship between uncontrollable events, giving up behavior, and learned helplessness, 33 college students participated in a problem solving study. The subjects attempted to solve a lever and shuttlebox problem under one of three treatment conditions: inescapable loud noise, escapable loud noise, or no noise. Under the escapable condition, subjects were told they could stop the noise and they would have to figure out how to do it. An analysis of the results showed that the subjects in the inescapable condition took more time to move the lever across the shuttlebox, thus terminating the noise, than did the subjects in the escapable condition. However, subjects in the inescapable condition did not give up sooner than subjects in either the escapable or control conditions. The findings show that while humans seem to learn more slowly after being subjected to unavoidable, inescapable stimuli and exhibit impaired performance, they are not helpless. (BL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Psychological Association (63rd, San Francisco, CA, April 16-20, 1983).