one of the main theories developed to explain the experience of depressions, derived from experiments in which animals, subjected to inescapable aversive stimulation, became very passive in their responding.
the state of pessimism that results from explaining a negative event as due to stable, internal, and global factors; learned helplessness causes depression, reduced effort, and difficulty in learning new material
with repeated exposure to inescapable aversive events, the person or animal learns that escape is impossible. In subsequent circumstances where escape or avoidance is possible, no attempt is made. The principle has been applied to understanding the origins of depression.
If a dog perceives that his actions and the consequences are not connected, then a situation called "learned helplessness" may result. A dog exhibiting learned helplessness will make either no effort or very little effort to perform the exercise in question. For example, if sometimes the dog is praised and encouraged to heel along with the handler and sometimes the dog is popped and jerked to heel along with the handler and the dog doesn't understand what causes the handler to respond in these two very different ways, then the dog may decide that no matter what he does, the handler's behavior is unpredictable.
According to LD Online (the interactive guide to learning disabilities), "learned helplessness" is a tendency to be a passive learner who depends on others for decisions and guidance. In individuals with LD, continued struggle and failure can heighten this lack of self-confidence.
A condition of apathy or helplessness created experimentally by subjecting an organism to unavoidable trauma (such as shock, heat, or cold). Being unable to avoid or escape an aversive situation produces a feeling of helplessness that generalizes to subsequent situations.
Learned helplessness is a psychological condition in which a human or animal has learned to believe that it is helpless. It thinks that it has no control over its situation and that whatever it does is futile. As a result it will stay passive when the situation is unpleasant or harmful and damaging.