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E1a4 self fulfilling prophecy as an explanation for criminality
Self fulfilling Prophecy
as an explanation for
WHAT IS MEANT BY SELF FULFILLING PROPHECY
HOW CRIMINALITY IS CAUSED BY THE WAY WE ARE TREATED BY OTHERS
Using the calendar on your phone
Find the exact day and year you were born.
Mondays sit together
Mednick (1984) 14,427 Adopted Children, Criminal records compared to biological parents
Chritiansen (1977) 3586 pairs of twins
Theilgarrd (1984) Criminal Gene
John Bowlby (1946) Maternal Deprivation 44 boy offenders, 14 boys felt no guilt.
Farrington (2002) Family size. 6 or 7 children more likely to be linked to criminality.
Western (2003) Mothers Blue collar job, not fathers
David Farrington (2002) Longitudinal study 411 boys from East end from 8 years old to when
they were 46.
These are all to do with the family.
How can people outside of the family influence your behaviour?
Everyone you meet can influence your behaviour.
In your books make a list of how other people see you.
E.g. funny, Class clown, emotional, friendly, moody.
Do you think that how other people see you can influence your behaviour. E.g. Burn toast so
must be a bad cook.
Self Fulfilling prophecy
Can criminal behaviour be explained by the way people treat us?
People do see us in a certain way.
This effects their expectation of us.
One theory is people expect us to behave badly or in a criminal way, then we will conform* to
Self fulfilling prophecy when the expectation of others influence our behaviour.
If we are seen or expected to be criminal, then that is all that we can do.
* To adjust to expectations made of us.
Give an example of Self fulfilling
prophecy from school.
Rosenthal and Jacobsen (1968)
Conducted an experiment to see whether achievement could be self fulfilling.
They gave children an IQ test and then told their teachers which children were going to be
average and which children were going to be ‘Bloomers’.
This however was a lie, it was just a random list of children's names.
They found that the teachers did not expect too much from the average children and gave all the
attention to the Bloomers.
After about a year they came back and retested the children's intelligence.
Bloomers IQ had risen, Average had fallen.
Teachers expectations had altered the way the children were treated and this had affected their
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child must work for a living,
But the child that's born on the Sabbath day,
Is fair and wise and good and gay.
Read more at http://www.scrapbook.com/poems/doc/2727.html#MQIe76mCdGg5Uajo.99
Gustav Johoda (1954) studied the Ashanti people. They have a custom of naming their children
based on the day they were born. They believe the names of boys can be linked to their
◦ E.g. Boys born on monday are called Kwadwo thought to be clam and peaceful children.
◦ Wednesday children Kwadku are believed to be aggressive and angry.
When studying arrest records he found.
22% of boys arrested were born on a Wednesday compared to 6.9% who were born on a
How could you explain this using Self Fillfilling Prophecy?
Understanding Self fulfilling Prophecy.
Jahoda, only found a link between child's name and criminal behaviour using correlation.
It would be unethical to study a self fulfilling prophecy as a cause of crime by treating someone
differently and seeing if it affected their behaviour.
This is the main problem with this theory is that it can not be studied in a way that can prove it
causes criminal behaviour.
Another weakness is that many of us reject the way we are treated by others and so do not fulfil
I.e. if a teacher believes you will not do well, you work harder to prove them wrong.
Does not take into account that there are many more reasons for crime. From biology and the
families we are raised in.