SELF FULFILLING PROPHECY
1.Explain what is meant by SFP
2.Outline how criminality is caused by
the way we are treated by others
In pairs list some labels we give to
different groups (in terms of criminal
WHAT ARE THE
EFFECTS OF GIVING
SOMEONE A LABEL?
1. Labels can affect an individuals self concept (how we
2. Labels can affect the way others treat you
3. Society may label people according to the way others
I am a
How the theory goes...
He is not a
is wearing a
She thinks I'm a
because I wear
a hoody so I
may as well act
met and the
• Negative beliefs predict negative behaviour
• If a teacher thinks you will fail in an exam you
A teacher believes a
student is a low
The teacher does not
stretch or motivate the
student and pays less
The student does not
work hard and is not
inspired – they do well
Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968) studied self-fulfilling prophecy in a
classroom: Pygmalion in the classroom.
• Teachers were allowed to overhear a conversation at the beginning of
the year that identified 20 children in the class as ‘late developers’
and were eventually going to be ‘bloomers’
• The teachers believed this was based on an IQ test done, but it was
random. All their attention went on the bloomers
• At the end of the year, those 20 children did indeed have improved IQ
scores, and continued to for 2 years.
The ‘prophecy’ came true because the teachers responded differently to
them (more feedback etc).
What are the moral and ethical issues here?
Is this true of you?
Mondays child is fair of face,
Tuesdays child is full of grace,
Wednesdays child is full of woe,
Thursdays child has far to go,
Fridays child is loving and giving,
Saturdays child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.
What’s in a name?
• Ashanti Tribe of West Africa boys and girls are
named after the day of week they are born
What names do you know
that suggest certain
characteristics in a person?
• Boy born on Monday was named KWADWO
(Considered to be mild mannered)
• Boy born on Wednesday named KWADKU
(considered to be aggressive and short tempered)
According to Jahoda (1954)
• Males born on Wednesday had
a significantly higher arrest rate
(22%) than males born on
1.Using your knowledge of SFP explain why this might be the case
2. Stretch and challenge: Can you think of
any criticisms of this kind of research
Answer to Q1
•The boys born on Wednesday were expected to be aggressive
and behave badly.
•People around them – parents, friends, teachers etc – would have
treated them differently from Monday’s child.
•They would have been expected to behave aggressively and so
treated as if they would be impulsive or lash out if confronted
Answer to Q2
•It is a correlation study, so difficult to establish
cause and effect
•It is unethical to study SFP as a cause of crime by
treating someone differently and seeing what will
•Not everyone accepts the label they are given so
do not fulfil the prophecy. You can always prove
the teacher wrong!
•There are many other reasons for crime
Zimbardo – the hero in us all (6 mins)
1. What is meant by the term Self fulfilling
prophecy? (4 marks)
2. Discuss how SFP may account for some
instances of crime. (8 marks)