Pygmalion goes to boot camp: Expectancy, leadership, and trainee performance

Dov Eden*, Abraham B. Shani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tested the applicability of the Pygmalion effect to adult military trainees and examined the effects of expectancy on instructor leadership. 105 male Ss were matched on aptitude and randomly assigned to high, regular, and unspecified instructor-expectancy conditions. The Pygmalion hypothesis was confirmed. Ss with instructors who had been induced to expect better performance scored significantly higher on objective achievement tests, exhibited more positive attitudes, and perceived more positive leadership behavior. Instructor expectancy explained 73% of the variance in performance, 66% in attitudes, and 28% in leadership. The causal interplay between expectancy, leadership, and performance, and the notion of applying the Pygmalion effect by deliberately raising supervisors' expectations through "expectancy training" are discussed. (20 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-199
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1982


  • instructor expectancy, trainee performance & attitudes toward leadership, male military basic trainees, Israel


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