Friday, October 22, 2010

The Pygmalion Effect - You get what you give

The Pygmalion Effect derives its name from a very famous play - Pygmalion: A Romance in Five Acts.

Doesn't ring a bell, ok, try this modern name for this old play: My Fair Lady.

This is a play about a Professor of phonetics Henry Higgins makes a bet that he can train a bedraggled Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to pass for a duchess at an ambassador's garden party by teaching her to assume a veneer of gentility, the most important element of which, he believes, is impeccable speech.

Sounds like fun, right! But this play holds a very important lesson for us all, that expectations become self-fulfilling. Since Prof. Higgins was sure he would be able to pass off Eliza as a dutchness he was able to do so, more importantly he recognised that Eliza's manner of speech was just a matter of correction. That she was capable of more. That she had an ability she herself had not noticed as yet.


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