Pygmalion Effect: How our expectations impact reality

here is a theory that if we really believe in something, we can have it or be it. It is the idea of ​​being before having, positive thinking, these things.

But you already know that.

What you may not know is that the right context can make successful people. As well?

This is the case with what we call the Pygmalion Effect.

To begin to understand this, a little history and philosophy

The Roman poet Ovid , who lived at the beginning of the Christian era, wrote about the sculptor Pigmalião, who fell in love with the statue itself and was rewarded by the goddess Venus, who gave life to it.

Then, the Irish polemicist and playwright  George Bernard Shaw , wrote about this theme in the play Pigmalião, later adapted for the musical  My Fair Lady,  story of a florist who turns into a  lady  because someone saw her as such, bringing out the  lady  who already existed within it.

The point is that with the right context and incentives, it is possible to make a successful person!

NOTE: About this I wrote these two other articles, which may interest you:

->  Secrets of influence: the power of the context effect

-> Why incompetent people think they are wonderful

The idea of ​​incentives for the Pygmalion Effect is so strong that it was called self-fulfilling prophecy by  Robert Merton . But in fact, perhaps the first to address this issue was social psychologist  Douglas McGregor  in the 1960s.

In his study McGregor showed that managers’ expectations of their employees affected their performance: when the manager expected positive things from them, they tended to come; when they had negative expectations, they would probably also be confirmed.

In practical terms, if someone sees the other as “difficult”, non-collaborating or even as “enemy”, he tends to act as if the other were really like that, leading him to close himself to collaboration and become similar to the image created.

Therefore, according to McGregor, those who have bad expectations about others, do not believe in them or do not see their qualities, tend to reap the worst of these people; those with positive expectations tend to get the best out of each one.

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How to make children successful adults

Another study by  Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson in 1968 , at an elementary school in California, consisted of applying an IQ test earlier in the year.

Teachers were then brought together and presented to the results of children who had achieved high scores and ensuring that those students would grow up academically that year. The children’s names were only revealed to teachers.

At the end of the year, all students at the school took the same IQ test used at the beginning of the study. Children who had been selected as having a high IQ earlier in the year actually performed significantly better.

The big question is that the researchers had lied about the result at the beginning of the year and the students’ names were chosen at random.

Rosenthal and Jacobson came to the conclusion that by increasing the grades of these students, the teachers changed their stance on them, becoming their encouragers, committed to learning. The affection, complicity, enthusiasm and confidence of the teachers positively influenced their performance.

Fantastic isn’t it?

Conclusion:

Is it possible to manufacture a successful person?

The answer is yes. And this has been scientifically proven.

The effect of our expectations and perception of reality on the way we relate to it, can create an alignment between what is expected and what is obtained.

This shows how dynamic our reality is and how we can create contexts to favor increased learning. Otherwise, we must also look for ways to make learning more equal.

The Pygmalion Effect does not exclude the person’s responsibility. It just makes it clear that context does make a difference.

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