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Happiness and Helplessness

Categories: Happiness

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 designoone 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.

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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 our happiness •Happiness is largely a stable internal trait oLong tern adult happiness is stable around a set point depending on genetic factors and personality traits molded Economists disagree •Classis economic theory argues that ind are motivated to maximize their utility (satisfaction) •A descendent of the utilitarianism theory of john mill oGreta happiness principle •One must always act so to produce the greatest happiness for the greatest Money makes us happy •Richer people are happy, but only to a certain point

•Material lives keep increasing, but happiness does not increase at same rate What doesn’t greater income produce significantly greater happiness? •Ther perception of well-being oNot how well am I doing oBut how well am I doing compared to my peers •Also depends on expectation of income oPeople are more sensitive to perceived losses than gains •But if you factor in wealth and consumption patterns it starts to account for more data Bhutan Attributional styles •Why do some people exp uncontrollable stressors but not develop learned helplessness? •Why do some people derive more satisfaction from success or happy experiences? oImportant how they are treated It’s not whether you have a life of pleasant events its how you attribute those events •Internal vs external oWere you or others to blame •Global vs specific oDoes it happen everywhere or just here •Permanent or temporary oDoes it always happen or just now •Abramson, Seligman, Teasdale (1978) Modern positive psychology •Martin Seligman •Using modern psychological research oPleasure oEngagement (benefit of immersing in a primary activity) oMeaning and affiliation (pleasure of belonging to a group or cause) •What makes a happy life.

oGerman socioeconomic panal •Found that ind well being can change considerably in their lives •Against set point theory oWhat were the factors that can influence whether a person becomes more or less happy for long periods of time? •Be extroverted, not neurotic •High priority for humanitarian, family goals, and low priority for materialistic ones •Long term partner (not be neurotic, have high priority for altruistic and family goals) •Attend church •Don’t work too much, or too little •Exercise •Participate in social activities •Don’t be fat

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Happiness and Helplessness. (2018, Aug 28). Retrieved from

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