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August 20, 2013

Shock Treatment to dogs is still referred to in Todays lectures in Drug and Alcohol Addiction classes.

No. 4 of Top 10 Unethical Psychological Experiments involves the use of electrical shock to dogs. This example is currently still being used as a teaching aid in Teaching Drug and Alcohol  dependency classes to point out “Learned Helplessness“. This is not a lie.
     I recently sat in on a class for Repeat offender alcohol abuse and the Instructor read this out loud to the class. I was  Appalled and nearly fell out of my chair. I even asked out loud "Are you serious"? I had to investigate it as soon as I got home and sure enough this is what I found.

In 1965, psychologists Mark Seligman and Steve Maier conducted an experiment in which three groups of dogs were placed in harnesses. Dogs from group one were released after a certain amount of time, with no harm done. Dogs from group two were paired up and leashed together, and one from each pair was given electrical shocks that could be ended by pressing a lever. Dogs from group three were also paired up and leashed together, one receiving shocks, but the shocks didn’t end when the lever was pressed. Shocks came randomly and seemed inevitable, which caused “learned helplessness,” the dogs assuming that nothing could be done about the shocks. The dogs in group three ended up displaying symptoms of clinical depression.
Later, group three dogs were placed in a box with by themselves. They were again shocked, but they could easily end the shocks by jumping out of the box. These dogs simply “gave up,” again displaying learned helplessness. The image above is a healthy pet dog in a science lab, not an animal used in experimentation.


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