⒈ Self-fulfilling Prophecy Definition
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Self-fullfilling Prophecies and the Pygmalion Effect
Comic Relief. Deus ex machina. Double Entendre. Dramatic irony. Extended Metaphor. Fairy Tale. Figures of Speech. Literary Device. Pathetic Fallacy. Plot Twist. Point of View. Red Herring. Rhetorical Device. Thomas and Dorothy Swaine Thomas were the first to discover this phenomenon. In they developed the Thomas theorem also known as the Thomas dictum , stating that, "If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences. On a societal level, there can be a consensus on what's deemed true depending on the importance of the part of the culture even if it is a false assumption and as a result of this perception of the culture it will become the outcome based on the behavior of the society. Building on Thomas' idea, another American sociologist, Robert K.
Merton , used the term "self-fulfilling prophecy" for it, popularizing the idea that "a belief or expectation, correct or incorrect, could bring about a desired or expected outcome. Merton is typically credited for this theory because he coined the name; however, the Thomases developed it earlier on—along with the philosophers Karl Popper and Alan Gerwith—who also independently contributed to the idea behind this theory in their works, which also came before Merton. Self-fulfilling prophecies are an example of the more general phenomenon of positive feedback loops. Robert K. Merton was a sociologist who helped to further develop many different theories such as anomie , social structure as well as the different modes of individual adaption. Merton would not worry about developing the theory because he was never looking for a "grand" theory, he was looking for a "practical" theory.
Merton applied this concept to a fictional situation called "The Last National Bank". Rumors spread around the town about the Millingville bank and Merton mentions how a number of people falsely believe the bank was going to file for bankruptcy. Because of this false fear, many people decide to go to the bank and ask for all of their cash at once. The owner of the bank, Cartwright Millingville was once proud about the bank being alive and well which was thanks to the ubiquitous trust in the bank which gave it its stability but as the week fell upon what was called "Black Wednesday", things took a turn when the depositors lost faith in the validity of the bank according to Merton.
These actions cause the bank to indeed go bankrupt because banks rarely have the amount of cash on hand to satisfy a large number of customers asking for all of their deposited cash at once. They were able to determine their new definition of the bank which became an overall consensus as many rushed to withdraw whatever was left after their scramble to ensure their money was secure in their own hands.
Their loss of faith led to the bank's eventual failure which was not an initially true assumption until the depositors made it so. Merton concludes this example with the analysis, "The prophecy of collapse led to its own fulfillment". While Merton's example focused on self-fulfilling prophecies within a business, his theory is also applicable to interpersonal communication, since it is found to have a "potential for triggering self-fulfilling prophecy effects". This theory was applied to experiments done by Dr. Where random students' IQ scores aligned with the expectation the teachers had been given about the students eventual success.
Self-fulfilling theory can be divided into two behaviors, one would be the Pygmalion effect which is when "one person has expectations of another, changes her behavior in accordance with these expectations, and the object of the expectations then also changes her behavior as a result". Additionally, philosopher Karl Popper called the self-fulfilling prophecy the Oedipus effect :. One of the ideas I had discussed in The Poverty of Historicism was the influence of a prediction upon the event predicted.
I had called this the "Oedipus effect", because the oracle played a most important role in the sequence of events which led to the fulfilment of its prophecy. But in biology, too—even in molecular biology—expectations often play a role in bringing about what has been expected. Examples abound [ example needed ] in studies of cognitive dissonance theory and the related self-perception theory ; people will often change their attitudes to come into line with what they profess publicly. Teacher expectations influence student academic performance.
Theodore Brameld noted: "In simplest terms, education already projects and thereby reinforces whatever habits of personal and cultural life are considered to be acceptable and dominant. The phenomenon of the "inevitability of war" is a self-fulfilling prophecy that has received considerable study. Fear of failure leads to deterioration of results, even if the person is objectively able to adequately cope with the problem.
For example, fear of falling leads to more falls among older people. Americans of Chinese and Japanese origin are more likely to die of a heart attack on the 4th of each month. The pronunciation of "4" and "death" is very similar in Chinese. A more Jamesian example: a swain, convinced that the fair maiden must love him, may prove more effective in his wooing than he would had his initial prophecy been defeatist. There is extensive evidence [ where?
The mechanisms by which this occurs are also reasonably well understood: it is simply that our own expectations change our behaviour in ways we may not notice and correct. In the case of the "Interpersonal Expectation Effects", others pick up on non-verbal behaviour, which affects their attitudes. An example includes the Pygmalion in the Classroom study where teachers were told arbitrarily that random students were likely to show significant intellectual growth  As a result, those random students actually ended the year with significantly greater improvement when given another IQ test "The control group for all grade levels gained about eight points between the two tests, while the treatment group gained about twelve;"  Although the exact actions behind what the teachers did to lead the study towards the initial expectation of student success is unknown, teachers who have higher expectations typically, give "more time to answer questions, more specific feedback, and more approval".
A classic experiment was conducted by Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson in American elementary schools in When measuring intelligence at the end of the school year, 45 percent of children selected as "high-grade" showed an increase in their IQ of 20 or more, with some children showing an improvement of 30 points. People adapt to the judgments and assessments made by society, regardless of whether they were originally correct or not. There are certain prejudices against a socially marginalized group e. A leading study by Columbia University found that self-fulfilling prophecies have some part in relationships.
The beliefs by people in relationships can impact the likelihood of a breakup or the overall health of the relationship. It was suggested by L. Alan Sroufe, that "rejection expectations can lead people to behave in ways that elicit rejection from others. Couples were sampled from Columbia University and prompted to journal their thoughts and feelings in regards to their relationships. The psychologist professor Dr. Geraldine Downey found that women were more likely to experience rejection sensitivity in comparison to the negativity held by men about the future of their relationships.
Other specific examples discussed in psychology include:. This term has been coined by Graham Allison and is defined by the occurrence of a rising power threatening a ruling or dominant power. Thuycidides wrote, ""It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable. A present day example of this sense of worry and anxiety is of China's rapid progression which threatens the U. American political scientist Joseph Nye Jr. If countries make others out to be an enemy in their head, they secure the future of hostility. Another example of self-fulfilling prophecies is when the U.
The belief that democratic peace is the best way to maintain a country is only deemed true among the masses falls into the category of being a self-fulfilling prophecy. If one country perceives another as peaceful and not restricting their ability to grow and function as they currently do, the belief will be held by both. This makes the definition when applied to countries as flexible for the possibility that it can also depend on the consensus of those who believe in a specific principle. Self-fulfilling prophecies are one of the main contributions to racial prejudice and vice versa. Which made black workers unable to learn or approve the principles of trade unionism, since they were not given the chance of working in a work environment where these principles were seen or experienced.
In the article "The Accumulation of Stereotype-based self-fulfilling Prophecies. The example that was given was the one of a female student who seemed to do bad in math and her math teacher and counselor "channel her in the direction of confirming sex stereotypes"  By this the author means that the teachers never encouraged her to improve her abilities in math. Instead, the teacher and the counselor recommended classes that were dominated by females.
African American psychologist Kenneth B. Clark studied the responses of Black children ages 3—7 years old to black and white dolls in the s. From his reports on his research, the term "self-fulfilling prophecy" made its first appearance in educational literature. The responses from Clark's study ranged from some calling the black doll ugly and one girl bursting into tears when prompted to pick the doll she identified with. The black children internalized the inferiority they learned and acted as such as a result of their placement within society. Clark who aided in pushing the Supreme court decision towards the desegregation of schools in the case of the Brown v. The Board of Education, also noted the influence of teachers on the achievement levels between black and white students.
The low expectations of the teachers aligned with their initial belief which was low IQ test scores. Clark wrote, ""If a child scores low on an intelligence test because he cannot read and then is not taught to read because he has a low score, then such a child is being imprisoned in an iron circle and becomes the victim of an educational self-fulfilling prophecy"". Kenneth B. Clarks ideas about educational Self-fulfilling prophecies opened up minds to the effectiveness of teaching and the expectations teachers place upon students. In literature, self-fulfilling prophecies are often used as plot devices. They have been used in stories for millennia, but have gained a lot of popularity recently in the science fiction genre. They are typically used ironically, with the prophesied events coming to pass due to the actions of one trying to prevent the prophecy a recent example would be the life of Anakin Skywalker , the fictional Jedi-turned-Sith Lord in George Lucas ' Star Wars saga.
They are also sometimes used as comic relief. Many myths, legends, and fairy tales make use of this motif as a central element of narratives that are designed to illustrate inexorable fate , fundamental to the Hellenic world-view. This may be the death of the powerful person; in more light-hearted versions, it is often the marriage of a poor or lower-class child to his own.
The events come about, nevertheless, as a result of the actions taken to prevent them: frequently child abandonment sets the chain of events in motion. In Greek literature a "prophete" is defined as "one who speaks for another. The best-known example from Greek legend is that of Oedipus. Warned that his child would one day kill him, Laius abandoned his newborn son Oedipus to die, but Oedipus was found and raised by others, and thus in ignorance of his true origins.
When he grew up, Oedipus was warned that he would kill his father and marry his mother. Believing his foster parents were his real parents, he left his home and travelled to Greece, eventually reaching the city where his biological parents lived. There, he got into a fight with a stranger, his real father, killed him and married his widow, Oedipus' real mother. In some, he accidentally spears his grandfather at a competition—an act that could have happened regardless of Acrisius ' response to the prophecy.
In other variants, his presence at the games is explained by his hearing of the prophecy, so that his attempt to evade it does cause the prophecy to be fulfilled. Greek historiography provides a famous variant: when the Lydian king Croesus asked the Delphic Oracle if he should invade Persia, the response came that if he did, he would destroy a great kingdom. Assuming this meant he would succeed, he attacked—but the kingdom he destroyed was his own. Prophets and Personal Prophesy. God's Prophetic Voice Today.
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