A teacher believing a student is more intelligent than they really are could change the interaction between this student and the teacher in many ways. This student could see the teacher having faith in them and perhaps seeing something in them that they don’t see in themselves. It could cause the student to have higher self esteem by this teacher thinking positively about them. This could be detrimental to the student because other students could consider the extra attention they’re getting from the teacher as favoring, in turn could cause other students to bully them accusing the student to be a teacher’s pet.
This theory is used in law enforcement with subjects that are have mental delirium or excessive excitability. If a subject is being hostile because they believe that crowd control is needed due to Elvis’ concert that’s about to begin, then law enforcement officers are able to “play along” with the subject in order to get them to do what needs to be done. This could be beneficial by the subject cooperating without anyone getting hurt, including them. This could be detrimental because if at any point the subject realizes what the law enforcement officer is doing, they may be under the impression that they’re being mocked or made fun of. This could easily cause the subject to become even more hostile than they were initially.
"Understanding the World Through the Thomas Theorem." Soul Shelter » Understanding the World Through the Thomas Theorem. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
"The Thomas Theorem: Frontline Response to Excited Delirium." PoliceOne.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.