Learned Helplessness Dog Study

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Analyse etiologies of one affective disorder or one eating disorder. The etiology of a disorder refers to the causes of a disorder and how a disorder is defined. The etiology is crucial in diagnosing a disorder and determining appropriate treatment for patients, and may involve either biological, cognitive or sociocultural causes, or a combination of more than one. Depression is an affective disorder, and research has shown depression to be influenced by both biological and environmental factors. Symptoms of depression often include depressed or lowered mood, significant loss of energy or motivation, reduced interest in activities that were previously enjoyed, insomnia, significant weight loss or weight gain, or even suicidal thoughts. In…show more content…
Common symptoms include patients often having distorted cognitive processes and having the tendency to view events and occurrences much more negatively than most people. A study which depicts the possible mindset of such patients is Seligman (1978)’s Learned Helplessness Dog Study. The study aimed to determine whether learned helplessness could possibly lead to depression. In this study, a dog was trapped in an enclosed area where the floor was entirely lined with electrodes. When the electrode zaps the dog, it jumps over the low wall onto the other side of the area where there were no electrodes. This process was repeated until the wall was too high for the dog to jump over. After a few trials where the dog could not jump over, the experimenter lowered the wall back down so that the dog could jump over it. However, it no longer tried to jump across and let itself be electrocuted. Thus, results showed that the dog learned helplessness, and this may represent patients with depression who no longer try things as they are unable to view them in a positive way, having given up. However, although animal behaviour can provide insight into human behaviour, the results cannot be generalised to humans. Another cognitive theory in relation to depression is Beck’s Negative Self Schema theory, in which people often interpret any new information or event as negatively in regards to themselves. The theory suggests this…show more content…
Although many aspects of the etiologies of depression are still unclear, the causes that are currently known should be thoroughly researched so as to develop the most efficient treatments for

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