Self-fulfilling prophecy- antisocial behaviour

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  • Self-fulfilling prophecy- antisocial behaviour
    • The SFP suggests that the stereotypes held by an observer can affect the behaviour of the observed
      • If an observer holds false beliefs about another person or group, these can affect the way the observer behaves towards them
      • The observer may respond in ways that are likely to elicit the expected behaviour. This would confirm their expectations and reinforce their stereotype
    • With regards to antisocial behaviour, the SFP suggests that this would arise if the observer expects others to behave in antisocial ways
      • e.g a new boy at school seems to be a troublemaker. As a result teachers come down hard on him at first opportunity. He can see he is being treated differently so he reacts badly
    • SFP can also explain recidivism. Once an individual has the label of a 'criminal' it becomes hard to shift. The label becomes part of the individuals self-concept and feels there is no opportunity to change
    • Evaluation
      • Jahoda (1954) found that children born on a Wednesday and given a name meaning that they are considered to be aggressive are more likely to have a criminal record later in life than those born on Monday who are considered mild mannered and meek
        • Rosenthal and Jacobsen (1968) found that children randomly labelled bloomers were recorded to have a higher IQ than those labelled non-bloomers due to perceived teacher expectation/attention. This gives indirect evidence for expectation that can be assumed to affect criminality similarly
          • We cannot experimentally test the effect of SFP as it would be against ethical guidelines to label someone criminal to find out if it works
        • SFP does not take into account other factors for antisocial behaviour such as influence of parents or genetic reasons


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