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The Pygmalion effect also known as Rosenthal effect refers to the notion in which greater the expectation placed upon people, , often children or students and employees,  the better they perform i.e. when you expect from them a lot they tend to be motivated and thus perform better than others. Thus the concept is focused on self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Pygmalion effect also Rosenthal effect, refers to the fact in which the larger the expectation placed upon people the better they perform. Pygmalion first appeared in Greek mythology as a king of Cyprus who carved and then fell in love with a statue of a woman, which Aphrodite brought to life as Galatea. Thus the effect is named after Pygmalion that if a person has great will to achieve something he/she can do so by striving to excel. (David C.)

The Pygmalion effect is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy, and, in this respect, people with poor potential adopt negative beliefs and attitudes i.e. negative labels while those with positive labels succeed accordingly. Within sociology, the effect is often quoted with regards to education and social class.

Rosenthal-Jacobson study

Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson (1968/1992) reported and discussed the Pygmalion effect in great detail. In their study, they showed that if teachers were led to expect superior performance from some children, then the children did indeed show that superior performance. (Peter L.)

The basic purpose of the experiment was to support the hypothesis that reality can be inclined by the expectations of others. This inclination can be beneficial as well as harmful depending on which label an individual is assigned. Rosenthal also put forward that partial expectancies can essentially affect reality and create self-fulfilling prophecies as a result.

The prior research that motivated this study was done in 1911 by psychologists regarding the case of Clever Hans, a horse that gained notoriety because it was supposed to be able to read, spell, and solve math problems by using its hoof to answer.  (Michael S.)

Moreover George Barnard Shaw wrote a play, entitled Pygmalion, about Henry Higgins a gentleman who turns Lisa Doolittle, the cockney flower girl into a lady.

The Pygmalion effect is one big demonstration of the effect of teachers, showing they can double the amount of pupil progress in a year if they know the potential and expectations of their pupil.

People tend to live up to what’s expected of them and they tend to do better when treated as if they are capable of success. These are the lessons of The Pygmalion Effect.

So the Pygmalion Effect has come to mean “you get what you expect.” If you expect goodness or excellence then you will indeed achieve excellence but on the other hand if your expectations are negative you will in turn make a bad or incapable human being.

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