Health Magazine

Learned Helplessness

By Psychologicalmonroe @psychologicalmo
Learned Helplessness                           
     Throughout my university studies I have come across this term more than once within text books and journal articles within many psychological fields. Talking on a personal experience point of view, this term seems to sum up my whole high school career, as well as my first three years of my BA in university. Essentially, learned helplessness is quite literally turning your cans into cannots and involves simply rewinding your educational career where you feel literally helpless and ready to give up. Typically, people (in this case students) who suffer from this cognitive manifestation feel as though their failures are due to their ability (or lack of) and their successes are simply due to some sort of unconventional stroke of luck, or an other outter source. One classic example would be my self. Throughout high school and university i felt as though my bad marks were because i was simply stupid and did not obtain the ability to learn or comprehend the material. and that my successes were based on luck or one of my personal favorites "teacher pity". Teacher pity is typically when you do well on an assignment/test and you immediately think that your teacher or proff granted you a decent mark because they felt sorry for you. THIS IS RIDICULOUS ! In my personal opinion, all students should feel confident within their studies and know that your marks reflect your time and effort put into them, and not on your ability. Ability is simply something that is changeable, i like to think of my old high school hockey days (i was a pro on the ice) and practice made perfect, although now since i have not played for some time, my abilities (or lack of) have decreased dramatically. now to think if i only put as much time and effort into my studies rather than hockey i would have seen the same results.
     Learned helplessness can be defined as  a syndrome of cognitive, motivational, and emotional deficits after
lengthy exposure to non-contingent outcomes (Seligman, 1975). Furthermore, after various experiences inwhich a person may have failed, these negative outcomes start to manifest into something more that will effect their next attempt. The absolute main point to take from this would be that you can do anything you want, if you can dream it, you can do it. Now that I put more effort into my education than my hockey skills, my marks have improved. It is important to note however that my marks did not improve just on a basis of a change of mind and heart, it took just as much time and effort as my hockey practices. I typically was feeling good about my abilities to learn and still receiving poor marks. it really wasnt until i swallowed my pride and got a tutor and created an effective study method that i started to see results. As long as you put the work into what ever you want to do, you can honestly do anything you want.
     This blog post is merely just a feeler. The author will try not to state any empirical facts or evidence without providing a source. Essentially, this first post was based upon the views and opinions of the author on the topic of learned helplessness. This blog was not created on the intentions to provide any psychological help. Moreover, this first post was to describe the educational troubles of the author and how they were overcome. for further readings on learned helplessness check out these articles.
 Akca, F., 2011. The Relationship Between Test Anxiety and Learned Helplessness.
        Social Behavior and Personality. 39(1) pg. 101-112.
Sedek, G. & Koft M., 1990. When Cognitive Exertion Does Not Yield Cognitive
      Gain Toward an Informational Explanation of Learned Helplessness. Journal of Personality
      and Social Psychology.Vol. 58. No. 4. 729-743
Seligman, M. E. P. (1975). Helplessness: On depression, development, and death. San Francisco:

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog