The Power of Believing in Someone.
The connection between expectations and ability.
Hope everyone is doing well. Here are some things that I thought were worth sharing this week.
In 1965, a psychologist named Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson, a school principal teamed up to conduct a study. Their goal was to measure the effect that teachers’ expectations had on student performance.
They gave teachers in the school a list of student names who had cleared an intelligence pretest, and the teachers were told that these students had incredible potential. In reality, there was no pretest. The names on the list were randomly picked.
However, when the results of the next school year came out, Rosenthal and Jacobson found that those students who had been portrayed to the teachers as "potential geniuses" actually performed much better than their peers. The magic recipe: The belief of their teachers.
They called this the Pygmalion Effect. In simple words, Positive expectations influence performance positively, and negative expectations influence performance negatively.
"When we expect certain behaviors of others, we are likely to act in ways that make the expected behavior more likely to occur"(Rosenthal and Babad, 1985)
Rosenthal said, "If you think your students can’t achieve very much, are not too bright, you may be inclined to teach simple stuff, do lots of drills, read from your notes, give simple assignments calling for simplistic answers.”
When asked about the bell curve of performance, he said: "I have colleagues who give all A's. That should not be. I am a bell curve believer. Not everybody is going to be a star...But, almost everybody can learn more than they are learning.”
After all, there are no poor students. There are only poor expectations.
Last week, I picked up “Living in Information” by Jorge Arango. As someone who thinks a lot about how environments, both physical and digital, shape our lives, I loved this book. A must-read for people who design (especially UI/UX folks) and use digital applications.
A few quotes that stood out:
A definition of information:
“You can think of information as anything that helps reduce uncertainty so that you can make better predictions about outcomes.”
How places convey information
Places convey information. At the physical level, a building’s form conveys to your senses the possibilities for action that it makes available to you.
How information environments influence us.
Whether you’re designing a physical environment (such as a church) or an information environment (such as a word processor), you must be aware that you are creating a context that will affect how its users behave in it. The success of the design depends on whether or not it supports the goals its users have for the sort of place it creates.
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