Effects of experimentally induced expectancies of external control: An investigation of learned helplessness

Susan Roth, Richard R Bootzin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Used the learned helplessness paradigm to assess the effects of experimentally induced expectancies of external control in 28 undergraduates. Expectancies of external control were induced by the administration of random reinforcement for performance on concept learning tasks. Contrary to expectation, "helpless" Ss initiated more controlling behavior over an aversive event in a subsequent problem-solving situation than control Ss. The existence of a curvilinear relationship between experiences producing external expectancies and behavioral manifestations of helplessness is offered as an explanation for the results, and a discussion of variables influencing this relationship is presented. (37 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-264
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1974
Externally publishedYes

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Learned Helplessness
Learning
reinforcement
paradigm
event
learning
performance
Reinforcement (Psychology)
experience

Keywords

  • experimentally induced expectancies of external control, learning helplessness, college students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Psychology

Cite this

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AB - Used the learned helplessness paradigm to assess the effects of experimentally induced expectancies of external control in 28 undergraduates. Expectancies of external control were induced by the administration of random reinforcement for performance on concept learning tasks. Contrary to expectation, "helpless" Ss initiated more controlling behavior over an aversive event in a subsequent problem-solving situation than control Ss. The existence of a curvilinear relationship between experiences producing external expectancies and behavioral manifestations of helplessness is offered as an explanation for the results, and a discussion of variables influencing this relationship is presented. (37 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

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