Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

If You're Feeling Helpless, It May Be Best To Be Alone

Date:
January 3, 2008
Source:
University of Haifa
Summary:
If you're going to experience a period of helplessness, it's best to be alone. New research found that laboratory rats that were on their own when exposed to uncontrollable conditions, which create a feeling of helplessness, learned to avoid situations which create such feelings better than rats that were exposed to uncontrollable conditions in pairs.

If you're going to experience a period of helplessness, it's best to be alone. New research at the University of Haifa found that laboratory rats that were on their own when exposed to uncontrollable conditions, which create a feeling of helplessness, learned to avoid situations which create such feelings better than rats that were exposed to uncontrollable conditions in pairs.

The way laboratory rats react to uncontrollable situations in which their behaviors have no influence on subsequent events has been researched in the past. Results show that rats that are exposed to a situation in which they are powerless, for example, electric shocks that they can't possibly avoid, have a more difficult time learning how to avoid them in the future than rats that were never exposed to situations of helplessness -- a phenomenon known as "learned helplessness."

Researchers choose to experiment with rats because they are know as social animals and their brains work much the same way as human brains. However, most of the research done until now was done on rats exposed to uncontrollable conditions when they are alone.

In his doctoral dissertation, Dr. Qutaiba Agbaria, under the supervision of Dr. Richard Shuster, examined the differences in learned helplessness among rats that were exposed to uncontrollable conditions alone and in pairs. The researcher began with the hypothesis that rats would learn to be more adaptable in social situations, or in pairs, however, the research results revealed a very different picture. Rats that were exposed to uncontrollable conditions in pairs coped less well when they were no longer in uncontrollable situations than rats that were exposed to these situations alone.

The next phase of the research examined the influence of a rat that had never been exposed to an uncontrollable situation on a rat that had. These pairs of rats showed greater adaptability than pairs that had been exposed to helplessness as individuals or in pairs. In addition, the researchers did not find outstanding differences between the learning ability of these pairs of rats -- where one had been exposed to uncontrollable conditions and the other hadn't -- and pairs that were never exposed to uncontrollable conditions, which means that the effect of "learned helplessness" is effectively erased. "Now that we have see that "learned helplessness" can be "unlearned", we should continue to examine whether this change is a result of exposure to a rat that was not exposed to helplessness or rather that the social behavior between the two animals has another meaning," said Dr. Agbaria.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Haifa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Haifa. "If You're Feeling Helpless, It May Be Best To Be Alone." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080102122318.htm>.
University of Haifa. (2008, January 3). If You're Feeling Helpless, It May Be Best To Be Alone. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080102122318.htm
University of Haifa. "If You're Feeling Helpless, It May Be Best To Be Alone." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080102122318.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins