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Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

A project for AP Psychology detailing the nature of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Ryan Schuessler

on 21 March 2011

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Transcript of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Self-fulfilling Prophecy Definition Observations of behaviors that result
primarily from expectations. Research Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson Asked psychology students to run rats through a maze and record their times. Some students were told that their rats were smart, while others were told that their rats were slow learners. However, the rats were actually randomly assigned to "bright" and "dull" groups. The researchers found that the rats believed to be bright performed better than their counterparts. Student's expectations had influenced their observations. This presented the following question: Could a teacher's expectations similarily affect evaluations of a student's performance in school. To test this theory, teachers were given erroneous information about the academic potential of about 20% of their students. The teachers believed (erroneously) that several of their students had been identified as "spurters" by a standardized test. The spurters were to mature academically in the coming year. The spurters were picked at random as in the experiment with the rats. Those whom the teachers expected to mature academically did so. The "spurters" were rated as being more curious and having more potential for success in life than the other students. Interestingly, the children that had been labeled as "spurters" had made significant gains in IQ points. Rosenthal and Jacobson called this effect a... Issues Problems Students not in the experimental group were rated less favorably by their teachers. A negative prophecy, or lack of a positive prophecy, can create negative expectations. Therefore, labels can create self-fulfilling prophecies. We also run the risk of judging people's potential through standardized tests. If a person does poorly on a test, teachers and students may form the opinion that the student is dumb and cannot be taught. As a result, the teacher will not make an effort to teach the student. Gattaca - Self-fulfilling prophecies at work Credit goes to Psychology AP Edition by Philip G. Zimbardo, Robert L. Johnson, Ann L. Weber, and Craig W. Gruber. The clips are from the motion picture Gattaca.
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