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Self-fulfilling Prophecies and Stereotypes - a Study

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Evaluation of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies and Stereotypes

According to Smith et al. (p.80), stereotypes are biased expectations of a group of individuals based on individual observations. The stereotypical expectations are usually negative, and thus the observer tends to make conclusions about the subject without further analysis. Snyder carried out a study to find out if the physical attractiveness of individuals influences how others perceive and treat them.

The authenticity of a study results depends on the types and combinations of methods used while carrying out the study. In Snyder’s study, several methods were used together. First, he began his study developing a hypothesis. Meyer et al. (p.7) explained that a hypothesis in research is a proposed explanation that relies on limited factual evidence and calls for further studies. Snyder proposed that “the physical attractiveness of people influences the perception of them by others and the way others treat them.” His hypothesis opened a room for him to carry out the study (Snyder, par. 2). Snyder also used experimental groups in his study. Curtis et al. (p.3461), defined experimental groups as a group in any experiment that is subjected to variable tests at a time. In his study, Snyder used two experimental groups of 51 males and 51 females.

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Moreover, Snyder used to control variables; they are groups not subjected to the treatments like the experimental groups. The control variables in this study were the raters who work was to rate the experimental groups. In this study case, two variables were used, independent and dependent variable. The independent variable is the variable whose effects leads to changes in other variables, the physical attractiveness of women. The dependent variable is a variable that is changed by the independent variable; the opinion of men after the interaction. More important to note is that, while carrying out the study, confidentiality was given priority. The experimental groups were subjected to treatments, but they did not meet. Moreover, the rates were assigned to rate them randomly.

There is an ethical concern about this study; some experimental groups were assigned to be physically unattractive. If the individuals come to realize of this branding, they will not feel good at all. It will lower their self-esteem. However, this can be made better by ensuring that none of them get informed of how their photographs were used. In this manner, the confidentially and welfare of the participants would have been given a fair and deserving treatment.

Given that the study was carried out using students, and probably of the same ages, the results may not be useful in the real life situation. The external validity may not apply to general populations since a small group from a particular area was used. According to Krupnikov et al. (p.60), external validity refers to qualification of results to be used in another study. Therefore, there is need to modify this study to ensure better results that would be applicable and free of issues. The experimental groups should be allowed to interact one on one so that the results collected can be realistic and not based on assumptions. The study can also be modified such that the interacting individuals are from different settings. These modifications would yield externally valid results.

In conclusion, the relevancy and accuracy of study results depend on a combination of results as seen in Snyder’s study. In psychology, the behavior of a general population can be deduced by carrying out an experiment.


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