Happiness and Helplessness

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Lecture 8
Helplessness & happiness
Why did Seligman and maier use a tripartite design?
What are the long term effect sof uncontrollable stressors •What does delta p = 0
Pavlov
Pavlov’s apparatus
2 different procedures: classical conditioning and then punishment •because using dogs in experiment, noticed that if dogs had been through classical conditioning experiments, could not be used in avoidance experiments obut adverse for the opposite (avoidance exp dogs 1st could learn very quickly in the classical conditioning exp second) •tripartite design

oone dogs put into harness and nothing done to them (control) oanother set with shocks done to back legs but had nose plate to turn off shock (controllable shock emission - escape) o(yoked control) had nose plate that could not turn off shock •took dogs off of harness and tried to train them in avoiding shock •yoked control could not learn to escape an aversion condition •failure of contiguity and contingency

interference effect
trans-situationalilty
stress vs controllability
oprior exp with control effect of signal event
other observations
oappetitive learning, anxiety, depressive like state
Seligman, maier, and solomon’s theory of learned helplessness oMotivational, cognitive, emotional aspects
Why so important about learned helplessness?
A role for contingency and not mere contiguity in learning •A role of cognitions in learning, behavior and motivation •Its link to depression (exposure to uncontrollable or unescapable stress causes a depressive state) Contingency learning

Contingencies
oIf and only if x, then y (y dependent on x)
To determine a contingency we need to know two bits of info oProbability that Y will occur after x p(y/x)
oProbability that y will occur in the absence of x, p(y/no x) •Contingency is
oDelta p = p(y/x)-p(y/no x)
Doe sour behavior cause some consequence
Experience of control
People report a subjective feeling of control if
oPositive relation between response r and consequence C (behavior can include c) oNegative relation between response R and consequence c (behavior can inhibit C) •Learned helplessness when:
ono relationship between R and C
theory of learned helplessness
learned helpless = experience with non contingency interferes with learning about contingencies depression
attempt to link LH with depression
osimilar surface characteristic
osimilar neurochemistry
hopelessness depression
ois neg event important and stable
oare consequences important and stable
odoes it effect self-esteem
depressive realism
oput people in exp does behavior cause certain type of event ohow much control of blowing up tank was their fault –
omost people are delusion about the actual amount of control their actions have – while depressive people have more realistic point of view results
residents self report
oincrease in happiness, activity
interview reported increased alertness
nurses rated increases in
ogeneral health
otime visiting other patients other people talking to staff omore involvement in activities
oless time in passive activities
olived longer
the pursuit of happiness
state vs trait happiness
opleasure of the moment
osubjective well being
what causes happiness
oAristotle
Hedonia (pleasure)
Eudaimonia (a life well-lived)
Some of us are born happy
Strong genetic contribution to happiness
oIdentical twins are more similar in happiness than fraternal twins oEven those raised in different families (via adoption)
Happy events make us happy
Pleasant things happen just as often to happy people as unhappy people •And unpleasant things happy to happy people just as often •Older people have fewer happy event (because they’re less active) but get more pleasure from each one •How to measure happiness: simple polls, and reflections

Set-point theory of happiness
Our disposition determines...
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