The self-fulfilling prophecy ensures that we create a social reality that is in line with our expectations.*
This is the consequence of categorization. As humans we have a tendency to attribute causes to events; people tend to make attributions consistent with their prejudices.
The invoked stereotypes then guide our expectation. Once we stereotype a person or event we base our expectation about future interactions on accompanying that stereotype.
Not only does prejudice influence conclusions, the erroneous conclusion justifies and intensifies the negative feelings.
Our preconceptions about what other people are like influences our behavior to elicit those very characteristics we expected to see in the first place.
And even when we are open-minded enough to test the accuracy of our beliefs, we often use testing strategies that confirm those beliefs.*
In short, without conscious effort our approach to life will consistently be a self fulfilling prophecy. But there is hope: and it begins with awareness.
My inspiration to synthesize this piece came from Elliot Aronson’s Book: The Social Animal
*Quotes from the book