Learnt Helplessness 習得性失助 & Interrogation Technique for CIA in Afghanistan

What is Learned helplessness?

Learned helplessness is behavior typical of an organism that has endured repeated painful or otherwise aversive stimuli which it was unable to escape or avoid… In other words, the organism seems to have learned that it is helpless in aversive situations, that it has lost control, and so it gives up trying even that would be effective.

In 1967, the American psychologist Martin Seligman, as an extension of his interest in depression, carried out early key experiments. Electric shocks were given to dogs in two groups but only dogs in the first group can stop the electric shock of both by pressing a lever. To the dogs in Group 2, they probably perceived that the shock ended at random and thus the shock was unable to escape or avoid.

Both groups of dogs were then placed in a shuttle-box apparatus where they could escape socks by jumping over a low partition to another side. Dogs in Group 1 quickly learned this task and escaped the shock. Most of the dogs in Group 2 simply lay down passively and whined when they were shocked. [1]

Interrogation Technique for US CIA in Afghanistan

I learnt this through the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) web site accusing of the US government’s failure to honor Geneva Conventions by developing and testing cruel and inhuman interrogation technique based on “Learnt Helplessness”, and to execute such technique, failed to understand and estimate the effect and damage, in Afghanistan. Some (if not all) of them were proved innocent after prolonged torture or interrogation.

Into every domain of knowledge, healing or destruction can both be the possible destiny depending on what direction people are driving towards with their power.

[1] Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness
[2] ACLU, Out Darkness – https://www.aclu.org/feature/out-darkness

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