Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and Gender: Can Women Be Pygmalion and Galatea?

Taly Dvir, Dov Eden*, Michal Lang Banjo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


To date, all published confirmations of the Pygmalion hypothesis among adults have involved men. The few studies among women have had methodological ambiguities. The authors conducted 2 experiments in the Israel Defense Forces to test the Pygmalion hypothesis among women. In both studies, the leaders were led to believe that the trainees randomly assigned to the Pygmalion condition had higher than usual potential. Experiment 1 tested the Pygmalion hypothesis among female officer cadets led by women. Although the treatment did raise expectations, none of the performance measures and none of the mediators or the moderators evidenced any expectancy effects. Experiment 2 tested the Pygmalion hypothesis among women and men taking the same course in gender-segregated platoons. The Pygmalion hypothesis was confirmed among men led by a man and among women led by a man but not among women led by a woman. The authors concluded that the Pygmalion effect can be produced among women but perhaps not by women. Pygmalion research among women leading men is now needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-270
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1995


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