Today, many mythologies help us to explain certain human behaviors. Usually, behind a behavior we find an exciting story lived by the Greek gods, which we use now to name these attitudes or syndromes. The “Pygmalion Effect”, for instance, has its origin in Greek mythology.
This story is about Pygmalion, a sculptor who fell in love with one of his creations, which he called Galatea. He treated her like a real woman with such amount of affection that even the goddess of love, Aphrodite, loved this story. That is why she decided to make Galatea a real woman, making Pygmalion’s expectations a dream come true. How can this be applied in our day to day?
The Pygmalion Effect in current Psychology
Today we understand the Pygmalion Effect as the expectations that we have of people, things or experiences and sometimes come true. Also, how they can condition us.
Recently, a team of psychologists conducted an experiment in a school, in which they told teachers that some students had higher intelligence levels and, for this reason, higher grades were expected from them (of course, this was a lie). It was verified how this information generated expectations on the teachers: communication and attention on these students in particular were higher than in any others, improving their grades.
However, expectations are not always positive, and when we have negative information about something or someone, this fact can condition us, turning this relationship or experience into something worse.
According to that, the “Pygmalion Effect” affects us daily: school, at work, personal relationships, when we acquire a new object… The question is: to have or not have expectations?
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