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Problems in a relationship? The Pygmalion Effect could be key. Here's why and what to do about it.

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

A study in the 60’s (Rosenthal, Jacobson) took a bunch of students showing similar grades and divided the group in two - assigning a tutor to each group.

One Tutor was told that their group of students were of above average grades. The other Tutor was told the truth - that their students grades were average.

The student group whose Tutor thought they were above average in ability smashed it in their studies, their grades went up and they consistently produced top marks. The other student group continued turning in average grades.

The lesson?

If a Tutor has positive expectations, the student performs better. Simply by the power of the tutors belief, the students out-performed expectations. Sadly, the same works vice versa for negative expectations.

This was named The Pygmalion Effect. Otherwise known as the self-fulfilling prophecy.

It goes like this:

Our beliefs (about others)


Our Actions (towards others)


Their beliefs (about themselves)


Their actions (towards others)


Our beliefs (about others)

See the cycle? If you think badly of somebody, they unconsciously pick up your vibe, it effects how they behave which reinforces your negative perception of them.

This is one of the ways relationships get stuck in a negative pattern.

The Pygmalion Effect happens in all relationships.

It’s the energy we bring to an interaction that often dictates the outcome.

This is why I say that despite how you feel about someone, if you want a more positive interaction with them, check your vibe, notice the energy that you are bringing to the interaction. Be a blank slate. Leave the baggage at the door, clear your mind of any frustration and try to approach with positive regard.

If you bring positive regard to an interaction, you are likely to get a positive outcome, FACT.

Try it.

I’m fascinated with the exchange of energy between human beings and how we unconsciously influence each other.

Happy vibing!

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