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Learned Helplessness. Learned helplessness Marty Seligman Four groups of dogs Training I and II result Lasting effects Grp IEscapable/escapeable runNone.

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Presentation on theme: "Learned Helplessness. Learned helplessness Marty Seligman Four groups of dogs Training I and II result Lasting effects Grp IEscapable/escapeable runNone."— Presentation transcript:

1 Learned Helplessness

2 Learned helplessness Marty Seligman Four groups of dogs Training I and II result Lasting effects Grp IEscapable/escapeable runNone Grp IIInescapable/inescapable not runNone Grp IIIEscapable/inescapable not runNone Grp IVInescapable/escapable not run Severe Remember, Seligman’s hypothesis was that NONE of the dogs would be significantly harmed.

3 Key Factor = inescapability once learned not to escape (learned to be helpless)= not change Characteristics of L.H. inescapability that produces phenomenon, not the shock itself works under variety of procedures, conditions very generalizeable, transferable if take far enough, can make it a contingency rule for the animal, rather than specific contingency for specific situation(s)

4 Symptoms of L.H. passivity learned laziness retardation of learning somatic effects reduction of helplessness with time

5 Clinical expressions of learned helplessness School phobias and math anxiety Abusive Relationships Depression Cultural learned helplessness

6 Clinical expressions of learned helplessness School phobias and math anxiety Abusive Relationships Depression Cultural learned helplessness

7 “Curing” or eliminating learned helplessness Unlearn the rule Reshape or recondition Must be done in situation where organism cannot fail Difficult to do- animals can “not” respond UPenn program on relearning thoughts during test taking

8 Two theories to explain Competing response hypothesis – Dog learned motor responses which alleviated or attenuated shock – Those were used in shuttle situation, but ineffective – Thus learn the wrong responses Adaptation hypothesis – Organisms sensitive to independence of events – Most situations: understand that shock is not dependent on their behavior – In LH: not make this distinction, rather shock WAS dependent on their behavior

9 LH in dogs 2 separate shock locations: harness or alley-way/shuttlebox Several procedures: – Inescapable shock exposure – instrumental escape/avoidance training – Testing for chronic failure to escape – TREATMENT Removed barrier between sides Opened observation windows on opposite side of box Humans called dogs to safety side – Forced escape/avoidance – Recovery: testing again

10 Did it work? YES! Learning contingency was critical When learned that contingency was to escape- could overcome the first “learning rule” Was one of first attempts at treatment Why so important? One of first studies to suggest that you could be TAUGHT to overcome aversive events in your life!

11 Why is learned helplessness important to dog training and our dogs? Many of our foster, shelter and rescue dogs show symptoms of learned helplessness Misunderstanding their behavior for obstinacy, aggression, or other misbehavior will lead to worsening behavior Must understand that much of their misbehavior elicited due to LH

12 Reminder Over 15 million dogs turned out as strays or relinquished to shelters each year – Small percentage are lost dogs – Smaller percentage are homeless dogs – Most are unwanted Relinquishment = stress – Elicits stress hormones – These, in turn, tied to aggression – Soon aggression and stress become linked

13 Stress in other animals? Much data on caging in other animals – Harlow’s work (and Melissa Novak) – Macaque monkeys: Aggression Reduction in development Reduction in intelligence Reduction in social skills Treatment in monkeys: socialization with normal peers

14 In shelters Plasma levels of stress-related adrenal cortisol elevated in dogs at least during first 3 days in shelter – Tied to anxiety, depression, etc. in dogs and humans – AND a sign of developing LH 20-min of human contact reduced these levels to near normal

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16 Treatment 1977: Tuber and his colleagues began shelter interventions What did they find most productive in alleviating stress symptoms? – Supportive environment

17 Supportive Environment Living room: looks like a humans’ home living room – Not a cage – Most likely paired with good human-dog interactions Living room provides place for – Social interaction – Behavioral assessment – Training Make human interactions contingent on appropriate social behavior in dogs

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20 What kind of training works? Contingent attention Stroke-handling: touching all over; petting Crate training and adaptation – Safety issues for when adopted – Make crate a safe and supportive place Introduction to noise, different people, etc.

21 So, what about extending this? Foster care – In a “living room” 24/7 – Get used to sights/sounds of living in a home – Experience daily routines Morning, evening, staying home alone Learn changes in routines – Varied experiences and introduction to many novel stimuli – Development of generalization of social behavior Best simulation of where will go in adoptive home

22 Why is this socialization so important? Makes the dog adoptable! – Accepts humans – Acts appropriately when greeting – “looks like a normal dog” – Avoids development of learned helplessness Shelter considerations – Makes shelters less aversive – Not smelly or scary or full of aggressive dogs – Foster homes communicate caring and well-being – Avoids ove-rarousal, which increases chances of being adopted

23 Who should be involved in socialization efforts? Directors and direct-care staff Volunteers Everybody! Must be systematic training program – Teach people the correct behavior to expect and demand from dogs – Continuity and caring critical

24 What else important for adoption? Must remain in contact with adopter – Check for any adjustment issues – Offer behavioral/medical advice – Give support Goal is to NOT have the dog return

25 Why isn’t this done more systematically and in a more widespread manner? Time expensive Volunteer expensive Author suggests we use……universities and psychology/biology/agriculture departments!! Of course- why!!!!!?????


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