In 1970, Seligman coined the term LEARNED HELPLESSNESS (in 1978 it was reformulated to include the theory of attributional style: Abramson, Seligman and Teasdale). It refers to how an animal or human being “learns” to behave passively, having the subjective sensation of being unable to do anything and failing to respond even though there are real opportunities to change an adverse situation. In chess it’s common that the appearance of an “unexpected” loss, two consecutive defeats or even making a bad move during a game can trigger a similar process to LH and lead to a deficit in a player’s motivational level (nothing that he or she does seems likely to be able to reverse the situation), cognitive level (a failure to evaluate the new reality and the chances that arise) and emotional level (the occurrence of anger, sadness etc.) which adversely affects his or her subsequent performance.
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