Undergraduate Psychology Research Methods Journal


This experiment was conducted in order to see if a relationship existed between learned helplessness and students. In other words, I sought to see if enforced learned helplessness would have a negative impact on student test performance. Learned helplessness can be defined as the belief that a task or an obstacle has an outcome that is outside an individual’s realm of control (Marshik, Kortenkamp, Cerbin et al., 2015). In order to test learned helplessness, anagrams were used. Anagrams may be defined as groups of letters that are scrambled, and then are attempted to be unscrambled in order to form words. For example, the word “television” could be made into an anagram by scrambling the letters to form “nivsioetel.” In order to enforce learned helplessness, I used three different lists: List A, which is easy to solve, List B, which is impossible to solve, and List C, which is possible but difficult to solve. List B consisted of participants that have learned helplessness enforced upon them. My hypothesis was that students who have learned helplessness enforced upon them will be less likely to be able to solve anagrams in a second trial, demonstrating that Learned helplessness discourages future attempts. This study could have positive implications in school settings through test score improvement.

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