Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Pygmalian effect- how unsaid expectation become reality

Dear Reader,

Here is a useful excerpt from a book I recently read: The Happiness Advantage – by Shawn Achor, lecturer from Harvard University. 

…one of the most well-known psychology experiments ever performed.

A team of researchers led by Robert Rosenthal went into an elementary school and administered intelligence tests to the students.

The researchers then told the teachers in each of the classrooms which students – say, Sam, Sally, and Sarah – the data had identified as academic superstars, the ones with the greatest potential for growth.

They asked the teachers not to mention the results of the study to the students, and not to spend any more or less time with them. (And, in fact, the teachers were warned they would be observed to make sure they did not.)

At the end of the year, the students were tested again, and indeed, Sam, Sally, and Sarah posted off-the-chart intellectual ability. This would be a predictable story, except for an O. Henry-type twist at the end.

When Sam, Sally, and Sarah had been tested at the beginning of the experiment, they were found to be absolutely, wonderfully ordinary. The researchers had randomly picked their names and then lied to the teachers about their ability. But after the experiment, they had in fact turned into academic superstars.

So what caused these ordinary students to become extraordinary? Although the teachers had said nothing directly to these children and had spent equal amounts of time with everyone, two crucial things had happened. The belief the teachers had in the students’ potential had been unwittingly and nonverbally communicated. More important, these nonverbal messages were then digested by the students and transformed into reality.

This phenomenon is called the Pygmalion Effect: when our belief in another person’s potential brings that potential to life.

Whether we are trying to uncover the talent in a class of second graders or in the workers sitting around at the morning meeting, the Pygmalion Effect can happen anywhere. The expectations we have about our children, co-workers, and spouses – whether or not they are ever voiced – can make that expectation a reality.

** Pygmalion was a sculptor who chiselled the women of his dreams out of marble and called her Galatea. The statue represented every hope, every dream, every possibility, every meaning—beauty itself. Inevitably, Pygmalion fell in love. According to the myth, the goddess of love, Venus, granted his wish to bring her to life.

May this excerpt inspire you to align your expectations, thoughts and vibes to the reality you wish to create.

Warm regards