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Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

A self-fulfiling prophecy takes place when an individual’s expectation about a person cause the person to behave in that manner, hence confirming the expectations. Normally, one (the perceiver) has an initial impression of another. The perceiver behaves towards the target based on his or her expectation. The third step happens when the target changes their behavior to suit the perceiver’s action, thereby confirming the hypothesis about the target (Weiten, Dunn & Hammer, 2018). There are several examples of the self-fulfilling prophecies at work.

Self-fulfilling prophecies can be self-imposed or other-imposed. The former occurs when one’s expectations influence one’s actions. An example of self-imposed prophecy, is when an individual believes that they have very poor public speaking skills even though they have never spoken in public. When the individual gets an opportunity to speak in public, he or she stumbles over his words and forgets lines, hence failing to give a proper message. Since the individual expected this, it actually happens. Other-imposed prophecy occurs when one’s expectation of another affects that person’s actions. For instance, black children are often believed to have lower intelligence and high rates of violence and delinquency. Teachers may fail to give special attention to a black child in class or rebuke them so often, even for minor mistakes, leading the child to perform poorly or indulge in delinquent behaviors.

Generally, self-fulfilling prophecies are based on an unbacked idea or false notion, which encourage behavior that eventually make a person act as though that idea was true until the behaviors actually become a reality, hence fulfilling the prophecy. In most cases, stereotypes form part of the self-fulfilling prophecies. In the school environment, most minority students tend to underperform because of the pressures and worries of underperforming, which make the prophecy turn true through their actual underperformance

Reference

Weiten, W., Dunn, D. S., & Hammer, E. Y. (2018). Psychology applied to modern life: Adjustment in the 21st century. Cengage Learning.

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Question 


Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

Explain the concept of self-fulfilling prophecies. What are everyday examples of the self-fulfilling prophecy at work? For instance, if you expect rude service from a cashier versus expecting friendliness? If you expect a blind date to be boring versus fun?

Resources
Psychology Applied to Modern Life: Adjustment in the 21st Century Wayne Weiten, Dana S. Dunn, and Elizabeth Yost Hammer, 2018 Cengage Learning ISBN.13: 978-1-305-96847-9

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