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Lecture 9

lecture 9 of psych 2035

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Western University
Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

Stress and Coping November 26, 2012 The Role of Perceived Control What is perceived control? 1. Control deprivation on animals 2. Learned helplessness in people 3. Reactions to physical illness 4. Controlling our thoughts -an expected responses-outcome contingency: (if you do „x‟, you will achieve outcome „y‟) Q: is perceived control important in our everyday lives? PART ONE: Control Deprivation of Non-Human Animals -Dogs in shuttle box (box divided with small barrier) dog is in one section of box, light comes on, 10 seconds later a shock is applied to floor of box, dog can escape by jumping over barrier. Repeated. Doesn‟t take them very long to learn their response-outcome contingency = will just jump over barrier without shock. One dog quickly learns contingency = second dog just sits there and takes it. Why difference? Both dogs had previously been placed in a harness, while strapped light would come on, light then 10 seconds later shock > both received st same amount of shocks in harness > 1 dog learned it could control shocks by moving head to right or left in harness (learning relationshindbetween response- outcome) and had no problem avoiding shock in the box >2 dog had no control over the shock, no contingency, got shocked regardless of how it moved and what it did therefore when in shuttle box has difficulties learning this contingency therefore produced a dog that was “learned helpless” -Prior exposure to uncontrollable shocks in harness >> Learned Helplessness -Additional Findings: -LH occurs in a wide variety of animals (cats, dogs, rats, hamsters) -LH generalizes to new situations E.g. If dog learns it cant control shocks in harness, it later has difficulty leaning that it can control whether it gets foods -Animals can be „immunized‟ against LH by providing prior experiences with control (E.g. If control in harness, dog has difficulty learning it cant control shocks in shuttle box) -A helpless animal can be given therapy to show that it has control over outcomes which eliminates helplessness PART TWO: Learned Helplessness in People A. A Typical Study: -1 part: get prior experience with uncontrollable or controllable events -then observe their performance on new (controllable) task: Helplessness? B. Typical Results: weak and inconsistent -control deprivation sometimes inhibits subsequent performance (LH) >give up too soon, just assume they have no control -prior control deprivation sometimes facilitates performance (work extra hard) -LH does not generalize to new tasks C. A closer look at Learned Helplessness in Humans: -Uncontrollable event >>> Learned helplessness -might generate „attributions‟ (causal explanations) for the uncontrollable event D. “The Attritional Reformulation of Learned Helplessness”: -whether we experience LH after uncontrollable event depends on the types of attributions we make Example: 2 first year students, both tried hard to pass, no contingency (both failed) “I failed my first math exam” WHY? >Student 1: “I‟m stupid” Implies three dimensions: 1. Internal (reflects dispositions) 2. Stable (will persist over time) 3. Global (generalizes to other areas of persons life) -because cause is stable and global, therefore no expectation of future control (gives up) THEREFORE >> Learned Helplessness -since cause is internal, therefore low self-esteem ***Pessimistic/Depressive Attributional Style*** >Student 2: “The room was too hot” 1. Cause is external (stems from environment) 2. Unstable (wont persist over time) 3. Specific (wont generalize to other areas of life) -because unstable and specific, therefore no helplessness and person should expect future control over outcomes -external therefore no loss in self-esteem ***Optimistic Explanatory Style*** PART THREE: Percei
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