The amazing Pygmalion effect

pygmalionThe Pygmalion effect (also called the Rosenthal effect) is a phenomenon that has been proven true by scientists, including Dr. Robert Rosenthal of Harvard and UC Riverside. It has been shown that when you have high expectations for your students, spouse, children, employees, etc. that they will perform better just because you have faith in them.

Also, it has been proven over and over that positive reinforcement (reward) works better to change people than negative reinforcement (punishment).

So when your child comes home with poor grades, it is best to say,

“Honey I know you can do better next time because you are smart” than to say

“You are grounded for a week, dummy.”

Self-fulfilling prophecy is powerful. Listen to the way you talk to yourself in your mind. Do you call yourself stupid, lazy, ugly? If you do, you will start to become what you call yourself.

An MMA fighter named Tito Ortiz talked about this. He had grueling workouts to prepare for fights and tried to motivate himself by calling himself lazy if he quit a workout early. He called himself a loser and other names people should never call themselves or others. Ortiz was unpopular in the ring. He was often booed, and he could not understand why people didn’t like him.

Later Ortiz got a new coach who told him to be careful of his “self-talk.” Ortiz began to call himself a winner and a hard worker. To his surprise, the fans quit booing him and he dramatically improved his fighting ability. It became easier to finish his workouts.

Do you want to change someone? Wives I know you want to change your husband. The best way is to use positive statements. “Honey, I really admire you when you take out the trash” is better than getting angry and not talking. Silence only makes things worse, because us men are never smart enough to read your minds.

If you really believe in yourself and your people, great things will happen!


3 thoughts on “The amazing Pygmalion effect

  1. as an ex teacher I KNOW this works, you are so right. I was in a tough school, very tough. but as my kids entered the classroom i would call out their name and tell them they had an A for turning up, and enter it into my book, then they got an A for having the correct book, and an A for a pen or pencil. Now they had three. Their task was to keep all three A’s for the hour. And they did too. They worked very hard to keep each A. They were a success and success is actually very easy. It is all about attitude.. great post.. c

  2. Years ago there was a popular song about “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative and don’t stand for Mr. in-between”. It still applies. Thanks for visiting and the like of my post “Slight Opening”.

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