Archives For Robert Rosenthal


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We all want to persuade people (our kids, boss, employees, spouse) to do certain things.

The Pygmalion effect (also called the Rosenthal effect) is a phenomenon that has been proven to work very well by scientists, including Dr. Robert Rosenthal of Harvard University and UC Riverside. It has been shown that when you have high expectations for your students, spouse, children, employees, etc. that they will perform better just because you have faith in them.

Also, it has been proven over and over that positive reinforcement (reward) works better to change people than negative reinforcement (punishment).

So when your child comes home with poor grades, it is best to say,

“Honey I know you can do better next time because you are smart” than to say “You are grounded for a week, dummy.”

Self-fulfilling prophecy is powerful. Listen to the way you talk to yourself in your mind. Do you call yourself stupid, lazy, ugly? If you do, you will start to become what you call yourself.

An MMA fighter named Tito Ortiz talked about this. He had grueling workouts to prepare for fights and tried to motivate himself by calling himself lazy if he quit a workout early. He called himself a loser and other names people should never call themselves or others. Ortiz was unpopular in the ring. He was often booed, and he could not understand why people didn’t like him.

Later Ortiz got a new coach who told him to be careful of his “self-talk.” Ortiz began to call himself a winner and a hard worker. To his surprise, the fans quit booing him and he dramatically improved his fighting ability. It became easier to finish his workouts.

Do you want to change someone? Wives I know you want to change your husband. The best way is to use positive statements. “Honey, I really admire you when you take out the trash” is better than getting angry and not talking. Silence only makes things worse, because us men are never smart enough to read your minds.

If you really believe in yourself and your people, great things will happen!

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Your words are powerful!

Brad Stanton —  September 19, 2012 — 6 Comments

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teachers (Photo credit: Mouse)

I saw a study that said children are born with a good self-image, but due to all the scolding’s and criticisms they get throughout life, their self-image becomes poorer as the years go by. School can be very rough on many children’s self-image because it is almost impossible to do any task 100% correctly and get perfect marks on an assignment. It is easy for parents to tell the children what they do wrong without ever telling them what they do right.

Robert Rosenthal was the chairman of the psychology department at Harvard until he retired and began working at a university in California. He did a famous study in which he showed how powerful self-fulfilling prophecy is. This is also called the Pygmalion effect.

Rosenthal chose 3 teachers at random and told them that since they were outstanding teachers they would be given 90 outstanding students to teach and the goal was to improve the students academically. After time it was found that the students did, in fact improve dramatically. But then he told the teachers that the students were not outstanding at all, they had been chosen randomly. Probably the teachers felt proud about that, after all, they had been chosen because they were outstanding. But then Rosenthal went on to tell the teachers that they were not chosen because they were outstanding, they were chosen randomly also.

The results showed that if you really believe in others, they will perform better. Not only that, if you believe in yourself, you will perform better too.

Tell yourself often that you are outstanding and the prophecy will come true. People often criticize themselves, but this brings about negative results. You wouldn’t say those things to others would you?

Tell your loved ones/subordinates at work they are outstanding and they will become so.

I heard a radio talk show in which the speaker said we should complement our children five times for every time we tell them what they do wrong. Wow, that will keep me busy, but I know it is good advice.

Your words have power, use your words wisely!

In Joel chapter 3 God tells us “Let the weak say ‘I am strong!’” If a weak person calls himself strong often enough he will become strong.