Learned helplessness in mice
Exposure to inescapable shock provokes behavioral disturbances in subsequent shock-escape tests, as well as in other behavioral paradigms, including those that reflect anhedonia. The interference induced by inescapable shock using a yoked (triadic) paradigm has frequently been referred to as a "learned helplessness" paradigm. The interference effect, although attributed to cognitive factors by several investigators, has also been explained on the basis of neurochemical changes induced by the uncontrollable stressor. In the present report, we briefly describe the various theoretical positions concerning the interference effect induced by inescapable hock, describe procedures that can be used to investigate this phenomenon in mice, and provide caveats that might be considered in conducting these experiments.