Pygmalion Effect


The effect Pygmalion, refers to the potential influence that the belief that has a person about another and that exerts on the performance of the latter. It is, therefore, something important to know and study for professionals in the educational, employment, social and family. The effect owes its name to the Greek myth of Pygmalion, a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved, and, in the end, it came to life.

The Pygmalion effect originates in a Greek myth, in which a sculptor named Pygmalion fell in love with one of his creations: Galatea. So much did her passion for the sculpture that treated her as if she were a real woman, as if she were alive. The myth continues when the sculpture comes to life after a dream of Pygmalion, by the work of Aphrodite, to see the love he felt for the statue, which represented the woman of his dreams and I look for years but not finding it is that He decides to make the most perfect sculpture.

This event was named as the Pygmalion effect because it exceeded what he expected of himself and by believing that the statue was alive this actually came to be.


The Pygmalion effect can be identified in the following ways:

Event by which a person gets what was previously proposed because of the belief that he can get it.

The teachers’ expectations and expectations about the way in which the students would somehow behave, determine precisely the behaviors that the teachers expected.

A self-fulfilling prophecy is an expectation that encourages people to act in ways that make the expectation true.

The Effect is classified in two ways:

Effect Pygmalion itself: produces a positive effect on the subject, so that strengthens the aspect on which the effect occurs, causing an increase in the self-esteem of the subject and the aspect in particular.

Golem effect: it produces that the self-esteem of the subject diminishes and that the aspect on which acts is diminished or even disappears.


The Pygmalion Effect is the process by which a person’s beliefs and expectations about another individual affect their behavior in such a way that the latter tends to confirm them.

In the field of psychology, economics, medicine or sociology, various researchers have carried out interesting experiments on the existence and potency of the Pygmalion Effect. Perhaps one of the best known is the one carried out in 1968 by Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson with the title “Pygmalion in the classroom”. The study consisted in informing a group of primary teachers that their students had been administered a test that evaluated their intellectual abilities. Then the teachers were told what they were, specifically, the students who obtained the best results. They were also told that it was expected that these outstanding students in the skills test would be the best performers throughout the academic year. So it was. At the end of the course, eight months later, it was confirmed that the performance of these “special boys” was much greater than the rest. So far, there is nothing surprising. The interesting thing about this case is that this test was never carried out at the beginning of the course. And the supposed bright students were 20% of boys chosen completely at random, without taking their abilities into account at all.

What happened then?

Very simple, from the observations throughout the process of Rosenthal and Jacobson, it was found that the teachers created such a high expectation of those students who acted in favor of fulfilling that expectation. Somehow, the teachers behaved by converting their perceptions about each student into an individualized didactic that led them to confirm what they had been told would happen.

Many other similar studies have occurred in recent years that have tended to confirm the existence of this effect, which on the other hand, is pure common sense. Undoubtedly, the predisposition to treat someone in a certain way is conditioned to a greater or lesser degree by what they have told you about that person.

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