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The study assessed whether experimentally induced learned helplessness on a cognitive training task generalized to a situationally dissimilar social interaction test task. Subjects were randomly assigned to non-contingent feedback, contingent feedback and control groups. The non-contingent feedback group demonstrated increased levels of affect (Anxiety. Depression and Hostility) following the training phase, indicating a successful helplessness induction. However, no significant differences were observed between the groups on the subsequent test task, showing that helplessness failed to generalize. A time delay between the test and training phase did not affect the performance of the non-contingent group, although there was an unexpected main effect with all subjects who experienced the delay showing facilitated performance. Results are discussed in terms of the reformulated learned helplessness model and extensions to it.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1985-01-01

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