Purposivecognitive Theory


PYGMALION EFFECT. = pygmalionism. This phenomenon is derived from the name of a 1912 play (called Pygmalion) by the Ireland-born British playwright, dramatist, and critic George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950). Originally, the name Pygmalion came from a Greek legend in which Pygmalion, a king of Cyprus, and a sculptor, made a statue of a beautiful maiden (named Galatea). Aphrodite - the goddess of love and beauty - gave the statue life after she discovered that Pygmalion fell in love with the statue. In psychiatry and clinical psychology, the term pygmalionism refers to a pathological condition in which one falls in love with one's own creation. The Pygmalion effect, on the other hand, is the observed effect whereby people come to behave in ways that correspond to others' expectations concerning them (cf., upward Pygmalion effect - the influence that an individual's behavior creates in others, especially on those in superordinate positions or positions of control over the person). The Pygmalion effect is similar, functionally, to the concept of self-fulfilling prophecy/prediction, that is, things turn out just as one expected or prophesied that they would, not necessarily because of one's prescience but because one behaved in a manner that optimized those very outcomes [cf., Oedipus effect - the influence of a prediction on the predicted event, where the prediction either causes or prevents the event that it predicts; the term was coined in 1936 by the Austrian-born British philosopher Karl R. Popper (1902-1994) who concluded from it that "exact/detailed" scientific social predictions are impossible; the use of the term Oedipus derives from the mythological Greek character Oedipus who unwittingly killed his father, as a direct result of the prophecy that had caused his father, originally, to abandon him; and the self-defeating prophecy - a prediction that becomes false as a consequence of its having been made originally]. The Pygmalion effect is particularly relevant to the social and psychological dynamics in the classroom between teacher and students. R. Rosenthal and L. Jacobson were the first to use the term Pygmalion effect (in their book "Pygmalion in the Classroom'), in situations concerning the effects of teachers' expectations on students' behaviors. See also EXPERIMENTER EFFECTS; HALO EFFECT; HEISENBERG'S PRINCIPLE OF UNCERTAINTY OR INDETERMINACY; LABELING/DEVIANCE THEORY.

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