I've been reading about the Pygmalion effect. From what extracted, it means positive expectations positively influence performance.

Now I'm curious to know this... does the Pygmalion effect also apply to negative expectations in addition to positive expectations?

  • $\begingroup$ Pygmalion effect is one of two forms of "self-fulfilling prophecy", and it refers to positive expectations (as you already know). The equivalent in negative would be Oedipus effect (not to be confused with Oedipus complex). $\endgroup$ Feb 19 '21 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ The Pygmalion effect failed to replicate in multiple meta-analyses - ie, it does not apply to positive expectations either. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Jan 4 at 7:18

Overall one can't deny the influence of expectations.

After reading more about the matter, I'd say that Pygmalion effect (or Rosenthal effect) only speaks of positive expectations others might have on us, so it doesn't apply to

  • negative expectations.
  • expectations we have for ourselves.

For the negative expectations there's the Golem effect and according to Wikipedia it is

a psychological phenomenon in which lower expectations placed upon individuals either by supervisors or the individual themselves lead to poorer performance by the individual.

In this case it's irrelevant who has the expectations (if they come from outside or from ourselves). Also, from Babad, E. Y.; Inbar, J.; Rosenthal, R. (1982), "Pygmalion, Galatea, and the Golem: Investigations of biased and unbiased teachers", the effect

represents the concerns of social scientists and educators, which are focused on the negative effects of self-fulfilling prophecies

Notice that the German-born American psychologist Robert Rosenthal is behind both of these effects.

Then, and according to Psychologinie, there's the Galatea effect which is

a phenomenon where people's own opinions about their ability and self-worth influence their performance.

The following image (also from the same website) pretty much describes the difference between Galatea and Pygmalion effects

enter image description here


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