Personal Control Beliefs

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Personal Control Beliefs: 

Personal Control Beliefs Mastery vs Helpless Motivation Orientations

Mastery: 

Mastery Comes by different names. Competence: capable, well-qualified. Self-Efficacy: ability to produce the required effect. Empowerment: personal strength and confidence.

Mastery orientation: 

Mastery orientation Clearly seen when life gets difficult. Hard tasks and times. Protect the self when encounter failure. Person remains task-focused. Emphasis on achievement. Seize the challenge. Energized by setbacks.

Helpless orientation: 

Helpless orientation Shy away from challenges. Fall apart in face of setbacks. Begin to doubt their abilities. Low self-efficacy. Lack of empowerment. Caught up in failure.

Contrasting Orientations: 

Contrasting Orientations Mastery orientation My behavior  Outcomes Other (Uncontrollable) Influences Helpless orientation My behavior ----> Outcomes Other (Uncontrollable) Influences

Orientations are learned: 

Orientations are learned Mastery develops from attempting and succeeding at challenges. Helplessness develops through experience as well.

Learned Helplessness: 

Learned Helplessness Martin Seligman Grad student working with Richard Solomon. Learning model for anxiety using dogs. Problem: some of the dogs were not behaving as predicted.

Solomon Experiment (part 1): 

Solomon Experiment (part 1) Classical conditioning. Start with innate reflex. Shock  fear. UCSUCR Pairings. CS and UCS Tone followed by shock. Mild shock (“touch a doorknob on a dry day”). Tone  fear. CS  CR tone Shock

Solomon Experiment (part 2): 

Solomon Experiment (part 2) Used a shuttle-box. One side has shock grid in floor. Unconditioned dog will jump to the other (safe side) when shock turns on. Conditioned dogs would not jump when tone sounded. Didn’t jump even when shock came on. Laid down, endured shock. shock tone

Learned to be Helpless: 

Learned to be Helpless Seligman saw the potential in the problem. In part 1 of the experiment, dogs were learning that they could not avoid shocks. Nothing they did really mattered. Learned to be helpless. Perhaps, on the positive side, they could be taught to overcome this helplessness. Application to the human condition.

Seligman Experiment: part 1: 

Seligman Experiment: part 1 Escapable shock. Had coping mechanism. Press nose button to terminate shock. “Active” Control. Got no shocks. Placed in sling. Inescapable shock. Got shock. No coping mechanism. No way to terminate shock. “Passive”

Seligman Experiment: part 2: 

Seligman Experiment: part 2 All groups received the same condition: escapable shock. Put in shuttle box. Light dimmed. 10 second later got shock unless they jumped to safe side.

Shuttle box behavior: 

Shuttle box behavior 1. Dogs in the escapable shock quickly learned to jump to safe side. 2. Dogs in control group also learned to jump to safe side within a few trials. 3. Dogs in inescapable shock did not jump to safe side. Agitated at first but later laid down and took the shock. Dogs in inescapable shock group learned helplessness

College students, as well: 

College students, as well Part 1: Press button to turn off load noise. Escapable: button worked. Inescapable: button did nothing. Part 2: Finger shuttle boxes. Move finger to other side turned off noise. Only escapable noise group lifted a finger.

Deficits in Helplessness: 

Deficits in Helplessness Motivational: Decreased willingness to try. Human subjects: “Why try?” Learning: Pessimistic set interferes with ability to learn new responses. Attempts to escape noise failed. Believe same is true for shuttle box. Emotional: Listlessness, apathy, depressed.

Parallels with Reactive Depression: 

Parallels with Reactive Depression Triggered by traumatic life event (ex. death of loved one). Passivity Difficulty in learning responses that bring relief. Physical symptoms. Stress related disorders.

Directive Therapy: 

Directive Therapy Dogs that had been exposed to inescapable shock. Remove barrier and push them to safe side. Reinstall barrier and force them over it. Eventually learn to jump.

Parallels to Treating People: 

Parallels to Treating People Encourage depressed people to get back into life. Ex: not willing to leave home. Small steps. (Go out to movie, then mall.) Increase difficulty. Show them they do have control over their lives. Motivational, learning and emotional gains.

Hospital study: 

Hospital study 24 Depressed patients. Read paragraph aloud. Read with feeling. Interpret paragraph, argue points of view. Give short speech. Praised at each step. 19/24 showed marked elevation in mood.

Prevention of Helplessness: 

Prevention of Helplessness Seligman suggests the best prevention for helplessness is early experience with mastery. Based on life histories of people who were resilient in situations likely to cause helplessness. Self-efficacy, competence already in existence. Served as a buffer.

Langer and Rodin Study: 

Langer and Rodin Study Both Yale Professors. Arden House in Hamden. Nursing homes can be decision-free environment. Give patients some control over small decisions in their lives. Responsibility Induced Group.

Responsibility Induced: 

Responsibility Induced At floor meeting, residents told they had choices on: Arrangement of furniture. Visiting hours. Entertainment. Given small plant to care for.

Control Group: 

Control Group Floor meeting. Nurses would take care of every need. Told what entertainment to expect. Visiting hours set. Room layout remains as is. Nurses would care for plants.

Conditions and Measurements: 

Conditions and Measurements One floor for each group. Nurses not aware of other condition (floor). Residents rarely traveled beyond floor. Pre and Posttest on: Locus of control. General Mood. Staff rated patients on alertness and social activity.

Results: 

Results Responsibility induced group. Better mood. More active. More alert. Jelly bean jar on each floor. Guess the number. 10 entered contest on RI floor. Only 1 on control floor.

Conclusions: 

Conclusions Small amount of responsibility has impact on mood and activity. Important for people to have some control over their environment. Healthier for people. No info on the health of the plants.

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