Therapy for helpless monkeys

Douglas K. Rush*, Susan Mineka, Stephen J. Suomi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


During the course of pilot studies and two formal experiments examining the learned-helplessness phenomenon in rhesus monkeys, 5 subjects failed to escape in a shuttlebox following earlier experience with aversive stimulation in primate-restraining chairs. The present report details a therapeutic manipulation designed to reverse these subjects' maladaptive behavior in the shuttlebox. Introduction of a different fear stimulus (a net previously used to restrain the animals) was found to be effective in inducing shuttlebox escape and avoidance learning. The implications of the present findings for an understanding of the learned-helplessness phenomenon and their relevance to therapy for human depression are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-301
Number of pages5
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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