A Learning Theory On Dogs Essay

Better Essays

Martin Seligmann (1967) used a quantitative method of research to investigate a learning theory on dogs in the late 1960s at the University of Pennsylvania. The Scientist and his colleague discovered the long-term effect of a negative example of the classical condition.

Seligmann’s learned helplessness hypothesis says that depression appears when an individual learns that it cannot escape painful or negative situations even when it is possible. This would produce apathy and disregard and they become resigned to aversive stimuli or punishing stimulus even when there is a possibility to protect themselves.

Martin Seligmann used dogs for his research experiment. When he studied the effects of inescapable shocks on dogs by active avoidance learning, he discovered the phenomenon of learned helplessness. The scientists had the assumption that dogs can understand a reaction before the learning process started (Mcraney, 2015). Seligmann and Maier expected conditioned dogs to react faster than so-called `naive dogs`, who could not build an association between the tone and the experience (Seligmann, 1967). Firstly, they applied classical conditioning to investigate the reactions of inescapable shocks on active avoidance learning in dogs. Accordingly, Seligmann divided the dogs into three groups. The dogs in the first group were strapped into a hammock for a while and then untied. The dogs in the second group were strapped as well, and received electroshocks,

Get Access