What is the Pygmalion effect

Many people think that pets or children have extraordinary intelligence. You may have heard many stories about this. One of these stories is about a man in the late 19th century who claimed that his horse had extraordinary intelligence and that there was evidence of it. This was William Von Osten, a teacher and horse trainer. He believed that animals could learn to read and count.

William worked on dogs to prove this, but his first efforts were unsuccessful. Then he worked with horses and saw results. Known as the clever Hans, the horse answered questions 90% correctly when touched on the hoof. It could do 4 operations and tell time and date.

When the rude people gathered to see the horse, the story soon spread. Investigations began to see if there was any deception. But no one could find any evidence of deception. He could answer questions, even if not as well as a human. For a while everyone believed the horse was intelligent. But then psychologist Oskar Pfungst began to study it. They found that he could not answer questions when he was blinking or when he was behind the scenes.

After these observations, he realized that the horse was not making mental calculations. It could not understand speech and logic. Von Osten was not someone who intended to deceive people. Because there was a psychological condition that he was also unaware of, and this event was widely reported in the world of psychology.

The basis of this is that the horse follows people’s movements and picks up non-verbal clues. Of course, this shows that the horse is very intelligent. When someone asked a question, it could respond according to their body language. For example; when someone stood in front of him and held a sign with the number 5 on it and said “tap your foot as many times as the number written here”, he didn’t actually see the number 5. When he got to the number 5, because people’s movements changed and the movement started, he realized that it was true and stopped.

That’s why he couldn’t answer when asked without blinking or behind the scenes without his face being seen. From this came a big idea for the world of psychology. Psychologists thought that if something is answered according to the emotions of the other person without knowing it, this would also happen in humans. After much research, it was found that this was the case.

It turns out that something happens just because it is expected. What is the Pygmalion effect? This is the answer to the question. It is also known as the expectation effect. So where does this name come from?

Pygmalion Effect Story

One day a sculptor from mythology thinks of sculpting the woman of his dreams. As a result of long work, he makes a statue of a woman carved from ivory. When the statue is finished, it becomes so beautiful that it is rumored that no woman can be that beautiful. Pygmalion starts to fall in love with the statue he made. However, since it is inanimate, he suffers from love pain and makes sacrifices. According to the legend, Aphrodite accepts his offerings and fulfills his wish, so the statue comes to life. Pygmalion immediately marries the woman of his dreams and they live happily ever after. Inspired by this story, it is called the pygmalion effect.

It is called the expectation effect, meaning that the person exhibits behaviors according to his expectations from him after a while. In other words, it shows that the more we want and expect something, the more likely it is to happen. In daily life, in our environment, when we meet new people, we think the way we think. If we find a person cold when you first see them, we act distant, if we find them friendly, we act close. Even if he/she is not actually a cold person and it just happened that day, he/she will respond with the same distance because you are acting distant. In other words, we put relationships in place with our expectations.

Pygmalion Effect Example

For example, if you think that other people do not treat you with respect at work, you will perceive every behavior as hostile or sensitive. Even in an ordinary behavior, you may think that he does it to be in contrast to you. Even if the other party is not aware of this, you set yourself up because you shape it with your thoughts. Don’t build up people like a maniac, calm down a bit.

In the example above, the worst part is that because this person keeps thinking about the idea that he/she is not respected, the situation is realized with the energy he/she emits. After a while he really starts to lose respect. So be careful with your ideas.

The other example was done in a classroom. Students are given a general aptitude test. Both students and teachers are tested. The teachers are given a list of the students who scored in the top 20%, but the list is wrong. It was deliberately given incorrectly and this was hidden from the teachers. So the teachers think that these 20% have high intelligence and the rest are not that good. At the end of the year an interesting situation emerges. The 20% who were not actually successful, but were told that they were, made significant progress. This 20% did as expected as a result of expectations. This is because the teachers were more patient with this 20%, paid more attention to them and conveyed their expectations through their attitudes. As a result of the expectations, the expectation was realized. In the experiment, there was no out-of-class work with other students and the lecture time was equal.

What you need to take away from this is to keep your expectation and your mind in that direction. If you don’t really believe it or don’t think it will happen, you reduce the probability of it happening. Make it clear physically and mentally what you want and increase the likelihood of it happening.

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