Two groups of adult Ss differing in verbal IQ were compared in a learned helplessness experiment involving cognitive tasks and non-contingent rewards. The mean IQs for the two groups were 131 and 117. As predicted, the higher IQ Ss performed better overall and showed greater awareness of the response-outcome contingency. Their test-task performance was also more affected by the contingency manipulation although this occured only with success feedback. Implications of the results for cognitive accounts of human helplessness are discussed.