Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Definition: Process by which oneís expectations about another person eventually lead the other person
    to behave in ways that confirm these expectations
NOTE: Self-fulfilling prophecies must involve at least two people-- you cannot have a self-fulfilling
    prophecy with yourself

4 Steps to Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

* Perceiver has expectations about how target will behave
* Perceiver then behaves in a way that is likely to elicit the expected target behavior
* Target indeed behaves in a way that confirms perceiverís expectations
* Perceiver sees predicted behavior
        - Objective perceiver might also see it

Examples of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

* You expect your new roommate to be shy so you donít speak much to him after he moves in, and he
    therefore does seem shy
* A coach expects his freshmen to be uncoordinated and unskilled so he does not play them often, and
    when he does they are ìrustyî and do not perform well
* Your professor expects you to do well and she spends extra time with you preparing for the exam, so
    you get an A

NOT examples of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

* You repeat the mantra ìI think I can, I think I canî as you try to jog up a steep hill, and as a result you
    are able to make it
* You have a bad experience the first time you go skiing so you never go back again and never get better
* Because you get a bad grade on your first exam you give up and stop studying at all, leading you to fail
    the course

Points to Consider

* Can these expectations be accurate, as when teachers judge their students?
    - Jussim and colleagues say yes
* Can perceivers do anything to avoid self-fulfilling prophecy?
    - As textbook suggests, reconsider your expectations and behavior towards people
* Can targets do anything to avoid self-fulfilling prophecy?
    - Swann & Ely find that targets often strive to disprove inaccurate/unappealing expectations

Correspondent Inference Theory

Purpose: To explain when we are able to make internal attributions about a person
Key Issues
    - Did the person have a choice in this behavior?
    - Was the behavior expected?
    - What were the effects of the behavior?

When can we make Internal Attributions?

* When the behavior is freely chosen
    - According to Jones & Davis, we sometimes fail to remember this rule
* When the behavior is somewhat unexpected
* When a behavior/choice only has few effects

Noncommon Effects

* Think of them as "unique effects"
* If Marilyn has two choices for where to go to dinner, the fewer unique effects of that choice, the more plausible an internal attribution
    - China Gate vs. Gandy Dancer
        + Many noncommon effects (price, location, food, ambiance)
    - Arbor Brewing Company vs. Grizzly Peak
        + Few noncommon effects (same price, same location, both brew pubs, but ABC has live music tonight-- I conclude
            she chose it because she wanted to hear the band)

Kellyís Covariation Theory

We make attributions based on three aspects of the event:
* Consensus
* Distinctiveness
* Consistency


* Consistency is the easiest to deal with
* If a behavior is low in consistency, we make a situational attribution
    - For example, if Larry sometimes talks about how great "The Blair Witch Project" was, but sometimes says he didn't like it, I
    assume that specific circumstances are the cause of his behavior (who he's talking to at the time, what other movies are in the
    news, etc.)
* If it is high in consistency, we look to...

Consensus & Distinctiveness

Consensus: what do other people do/think?
Distinctiveness: does this behavior generalize to other similar stimuli?
* If behavior is low on both, personal attribution
    - If no one else raves about "Blair Witch," and Larry raves about many other films, then something about Larry causes the behavior
* If behavior is high on both, stimulus attribution
    - If everyone raves about "BW," and Larry rarely raves about films, then the movie causes the behavior

Covariation Summary

* First check out consistency of the behavior
    - If it's low, attribute to passing circumstance
    - If it's high...
* Then check out consensus & distinctiveness
    - If they're low, then the person is probably the cause of the behavior
    - If they're high, then the stimulus (or other person involved) is probably the cause of the behavior


Go Back to Overheads & Activities Main Page
Go Back to 005 Main Page
Go Back to 007 Main Page