In their reformulated model of learned helplessness, the researches proposed that an individual’s explanatory style influenced the level of optimism/pessimism with which they regarded future events. Based on the findings, Seligman proposed three dimensions of explanatory style, neatly summarised by the three Ps: Pervasiveness – Global / Specific: Whether or not the factors influencing an outcome are seen to be event-specific or globally applicable. Permanence – Stable / Unstable: If the outcome is based on factors which are changeable (unstable) or perceived to be temporally fixed (stable). Personalization – Internal / External: Relating to the level of personal control an individual feels they hold relating to an outcome. Based on these dimensions, individuals can display an optimistic or pessimistic explanatory style.
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