Pygmalion Effect explained simply: Achieving high through Positivity

Nadine Wagenaar

Thumbnail for Pygmalion Effect
VIDEO With english subtitles

Many of us have heard the phrase "Nothing is impossible" in our childhood, perhaps from our parents or teachers. But what lies behind this seemingly simple advice? Today, we understand that a person's positive expectations and beliefs about another person's abilities can influence their performance and behavior. This concept is known as the Pygmalion Effect and was first explored in the 1960s by US psychologists Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson in a groundbreaking experiment.

What is the Pygmalion Effect?

The Pygmalion Effect refers to the idea that a person's expectations and beliefs about another person's abilities can influence their performance and behavior. In other words, the higher our expectations of someone, the more likely that person is to meet those expectations. This concept was first explored in the 1960s by US psychologists Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson in a groundbreaking experiment.

The Rosenthal-Jacobson Experiment

Rosenthal and Jacobson conducted an experiment in elementary school classrooms. They instructed teachers to administer a special IQ test that supposedly measured students' potential for identifying special developmental opportunities. In reality, it was a regular IQ test, and the results were falsified randomly.

Remarkably, when the test was repeated eight months later, the students identified as "talented" showed significant improvements in their performance compared to the other students. The teachers had, unknowingly, influenced the students' performance through their positive expectations.

The Positive Pygmalion Effect in Your Life

The Pygmalion Effect is not limited to schools; it can operate in all areas of life. Positive expectations foster positive developments. Here are some ways you can harness the Pygmalion Effect in your own life:

1. Praise and Recognition: When you praise and recognize someone, you signal that you believe in their abilities. This positive expectation can help motivate the person to do their best to meet those expectations.

2. Mentorship: If you mentor someone and show that you believe in their professional or personal development, they will be more willing to take on challenges and realize their potential.

3. Boost Self-Confidence: By believing in yourself and having positive expectations about your own abilities, you can self-motivate and push yourself to achieve peak performance.

4. Beware of Negative Expectations: Avoid expressing negative expectations, as they can limit the self-confidence and performance of others.

Conclusion

The Pygmalion Effect is a fascinating psychological concept that demonstrates how our expectations can influence the behavior and performance of others. By cultivating positive expectations and applying them in your life, you can not only improve your own performance but also enhance the performance and well-being of the people around you. Remember that "Can't do it - Doesn't exist" is not just a phrase from childhood; it can also be a source of inspiration and motivation to achieve greatness.

{{blog-shorts-cta-tour-en="/custom-rich-text"}}

Nadine Wagenaar

Nadine serves as a Senior Content Editor at Masterplan, contributing to research, proofreading, and media publishing. She upholds content quality standards by ensuring accuracy and attention to detail across all outputs.
View all author posts

Receive our newsletter to stay on top of the latest posts.

Email adress
Subscribe

Recent posts

Mandatory Training: The 10 Most Important Questions and Answers

Which topics are important? And which formats are efficient? Find out this and more in this article!

Read more

Data Literacy: Data Competence are an Essential Skill for the Future

Learn why data is more promising than your gut feeling and how to read numbers correctly!

Read more

Masterplan PACE: Effective Upskilling with Personalized AI Coaching

Find out how your employees can immediately apply what they learn with our new AI coaching.

Read more

Related posts

Dual Coding Theory: Enhancing Memory and Understanding

A picture is worth a thousand words, but nothing beats the power of combining both!

Read more

Minto-Pyramid: Taking Effective Communication to the Next Level

3 simple steps to successful communication – with the Minto pyramid.

Read more

Permission Structure: How to Convince With Empathy and Understanding

Learn how to change the opinion of others by using permission structures.

Read more