Computational Psychiatry & Decision-making

Other Research Topics



The documents distributed here have been provided as a means to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work on a noncommercial basis. Copyright and all rights therein are maintained by the authors or by other copyright holders, notwithstanding that they have offered their works here electronically. It is understood that all persons copying this information will adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. These works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.


  • pdf Learned helplessness and generalization
  • Lieder F, Goodman ND and Huys QJM
  • Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (2013)
  • In learned helplessness experiments, subjects first experience a lack of control in one situation, and then show learning deficits when performing or learning another task in another situation. Generalization, thus, is at the core of the learned helplessness phenomenon. Substantial experimental and theoretical effort has been invested into establishing that a state- and task-independent belief about controllability is necessary. However, to what extent generalization is also sufficient to explain the transfer has not been examined. Here, we show qualitatively and quantitatively that Bayesian learning of action-outcome contingencies at three levels of abstraction is sufficient to account for the key features of learned helplessness, including escape deficits and impairment of appetitive learning after inescapable shocks.