Pygmalion Effect

The Pygmalion effect refers to the phenomenon whereby having higher expectations of others leads to an increase in their performance. Pygmalion effect research often focuses on the relation between teacher expectations and student academic performance. This entry describes the Pygmalion effect’s origins, possible mechanisms, and applications both in and outside of the classroom.

The counterpart to the Pygmalion effect, the Golem effect, occurs when lower expectations of others lead to a decrease in performance. Both the Pygmalion and Golem effects represent self-fulfilling prophecies or expectations that influence people’s behaviors in ways that cause those expectations to be fulfilled. The Pygmalion effect is used to characterize leader–follower relationships, such as those found in the classroom and the workplace.

The Pygmalion effect is named after the sculptor Pygmalion in ...

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