The effect of debriefing on laboratory induced helplessness: An attributional analysis

  • Tennen H
  • Gillen R
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55 undergraduates listened to escapable or inescapable tones. One inescapable group, prior to anagrams, was debriefed regarding noise uncontrollability. A 2nd inescapable group was administered anagrams by a different experimenter (E). While exposure to inescapable noise led to performance deficits, switching Es obviated these deficits. Debriefing actually facilitated anagram performance. All inescapable Ss—debriefed or not—attributed their lack of control on the noise task to E interference, casting some doubt on reattribution as an explanation of debriefing's effects. Results are discussed in terms of the reformulated learned helplessness model and the ethical implications of debriefing in learned helplessness research. (19 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)

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  • Howard Tennen

  • Robert Gillen

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