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The Golem effect or Negative Pygmalion effect

The Golem effect or Negative Pygmalion effect

Maybe you haven't heard before Golem effect. And, for those who are not a little familiar in the field of psychology and more specifically, of pedagogy, this concept is usually totally unknown. Today we explain what it is and what it consists of.

To understand the Golem Effect ... We need to remember the Pygmalion Effect

To explain the Golem Effect, it is best to turn to your little brother, the Pygmalion Effect. In reality, both effects are "opposite," to the point that, on many occasions, The Golem Effect is also called “Negative Pygmalion Effect”.

Then ... What is the Pygmalion effect?

For it is nothing more than an event in which a person achieves what is proposed based on the belief that he can achieve it, in a process of self-fulfilling prophecy, and that is empowered by a third party.

As you can guess from the definition we have just given, this is especially important, and it occurs very frequently in schools. There, the teachers empower the children and they, feeling that they can do something, end up doing it, although perhaps, by themselves they would not have been able.

But… What is the Golem Effect, then?

Well quite the opposite. It is the process according to which a person conditions a third party so that their self esteem decrease and believe that he is not able to do something, so that, through a new self-fulfilling prophecy, he definitely cannot do it.

Obviously, in both cases, what happened is fed back: If you are something, you end up believing that you are capable of more things; If you don't achieve something, you end up believing that you are not able to achieve anything.

In what areas does the Golem Effect occur?

The Golem Effect (as well as the Pygmalion Effect) It tends to occur mainly in the academic environment. However, this is not the only field in which it can occur. It is also frequent to see it in the labor field and in the social field.

An example in the educational field

The educational field is where this effect has been studied most, by the hand of Rosenthal and Jacobson, who studied it in relation to self-realized prophecy.

What they discovered was that the teachers "unconsciously" classified the students, in such a way that they determined (irrationally) who had the possibility of obtaining good results and who did not have them.

Then, by the way they treated each other, they ended up fulfilling the forecast they had made.

For example, suppose two students, one who sits in the front row and one who sits in the last row. The teacher for no apparent reason, believes that the front will be more likely to get good grades than the one sitting on the back.

Then, during the course, it stimulates more the one in front and is more benevolent with him (for example, leaving him more time to answer the questions he asks), while doing the opposite with who sits behind.

Over time, the one who sits in front, being more stimulated, responds better and is getting better grades, confirming the teacher's prejudice, and causing the phenomenon to be fed back. The same, but vice versa, happens with the one who has sat back.

End of course, the one who sat in front will get better results than the one who sat behind, although, in the starting situation, both were exactly the same (maybe even the one at the back was more likely to succeed at first).

In this case, the one who has sat in front has been benefited by the Pygmalion Effect, while the one who sat in the back has been harmed by the Golem Effect.

In other fields

This is quite evident in the educational field, because, in addition, children are more moldable than adults. Nevertheless, it can also be given in other areas. For example, at work it is also very frequent.

We can think, for example, of an employee who "likes" the boss. This worker will be aware of that best treatment, and, consequently, will strive to satisfy his boss. However, that worker who is in the opposite situation will also be aware of that different treatment, and Your performance will consequently be worse.

This is something that can also be seen in other social areas, although not always with the same intensity or in such an obvious way. That is why we must be able to overcome our prejudices and biases to enable everyone around us to give 100%.

As you can see, it is important to know the Golem effect, because our son (or, who knows, maybe ourselves) may be suffering from it, and that is preventing him from giving 100% of his potential (besides, little by little, diminishing his self-esteem).