Stereotypes & Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Topics: Psychology, Social psychology, Sociology Pages: 3 (1013 words) Published: March 11, 2013
The idea of self-fulfilling prophecy states that a belief about the future will eventually cause that belief to come true. The idea is that a person will unknowingly behave in ways that, when combined over years, determines their outcome. For instance, some studies show that professional sports players are generally born in months that childhood leagues set as the cut-off between years. The biggest players tend to be the oldest, and have the biggest advantage in sports at a young age. They grow up believing they are the best on the team, and even those around them support their beliefs. Despite having no actual advantage in the long-run, these players will work harder and behave in ways that eventually lead them to become a professional athlete. On the other side, players that were always younger (and smaller) are less likely to be seen as the best players, and they have less of a chance at becoming an athlete. Self-fulfilling prophecy applies to stereotypes, as well. In fact, it may very well be the reason that stereotypes will continue to exist. Concerning gender, one stereotype is that females are worse at mathematics than men. The stereotype may not make sense, but after being told this enough times, it can influence the actions of both genders. Girls may tend to not work as hard in the subject because it may seem like they can never match a male’s ability. Johns, Schmader, and Martens created an experiment to study how knowledge of stereotype’s power over people impacted performance on tests. They take the gender stereotype about math and determined that Women scored lower when they thought gender was being studied. W they explained before the test that stereotypes about gender could create imaginary stress, women actually scored on par with men. The control group showed that when the test wasn’t referred to as a math test, the two groups also scored the same. I believe this study is extremely important to the future of education....
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