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Stereotypes & Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

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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.

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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. Children are not taught the psychological downfalls of their own minds, and so stereotypes will have an impact on them. Many people still do not understand the power of stereotypes, or self-fulfilling prophecies. It is for this reason that I believe social psychology should be taught to young minds as a way to protect them against unwanted stress in their lives, and hopefully happier and more fulfilling futures.

In fact, I’ve found that social psychology has made my own life much more satisfying. It’s taught me to always question why things will work, and has given me an advantage when predicting the future outcomes of actions. By understanding our psychological flaws as humans, we can use those flaws to explain actions and emotions we exhibit. For instance, cognitive dissonance is one of the most useful things I’ve learned about in psychology. One way that I’ve learned to use cognitive dissonance is to ask others for favors often.

I used to think that this would make a person seem dependent and annoying, but people will actually like you more if they are forced to do a favor for you. This is because the brain feels dissonance when doing something nice for someone that they don’t like. To relieve the stress, the brain justifies the action by admitting that the other person actually deserved your nice action. Now, I’ve learned to “accidentally” drop my pen next to that cute girl I’m sitting next to. In my social psychology is useful in all aspects of people’s life. For this reason, I think it’s a more useful subject to learn than anything else in school.

Everyone can benefit from understanding the way people are influenced by others. I feel as though many people are “robotic” thinkers through the current education model of only teaching facts. I believe that society would benefit more by learning to question everything around them. It is not my place to say that religion has a negative impact on society. However, I do believe that a large amount of religious believers never had a choice in what they believed when growing up. We are told to think for ourselves, but at the same time many parents hypocritically instill that there is only one true religion.

In my opinion, it is unfair to force religion in children who don’t have the ability to think for themselves. It has life-lasting consequences, and gives answers to questions that we should always be asking as a society (i. e. what is the meaning of life). By answering life’s fundamental questions, it’s my belief that religion inhibits the overall progress of humanity, and is distracting. To combat this, I believe children should be taught that people’s minds can be warped. Even by showing the cultural diversity of the world, children can begin to learn that everyone thinks differently, and that there is no one right way to think.

I think that by forcing children to always ask questions about what they are told, they will become more interested in learning other people’s point of view, and it’s possible that a major social change could eventually occur concerning the power of stereotypes and other fallacies of the human brain. One concern that could arise is the ability of children to even understand concepts as large as those proposed in social psychology. I, myself, was lucky to have started questioning things like religion and social influence at a very young age.

My bias toward having other people do the same might be affecting my ability to estimate how capable, or interested, a young mind will be in order to understand these concepts. It may also be true that teaching these concepts would upset the general way of the world, and could be detrimental to peoples’ lives. For instance, I believe that religion wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t a helpful thing at one point. People who have nothing else to live for take comfort in religion, and perhaps not everyone should be taught that there are questions that are impossible to answer.

Cite this Stereotypes & Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Stereotypes & Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. (2016, Oct 11). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/stereotypes-self-fulfilling-prophecy/

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