Rosenthal and Jacobsen, Experimentor Expectancy in a Classroom by: how much of an outcome teachers' expectancies culd have on a group of children

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Rosenthal and Jacobson (1966) sought to test the experimenter expectancy effect by

examining how much of an outcome teachers' expectancies could have on a group of children.

Earlier investigations in this area were also conducted by Rosenthal (1963). He worked with

children in a research lab, giving each one a rat and telling them it was either bred for

intelligence or for dullness. The children were put in charge of teaching the rats how to learn

mazes. Rosenthal's results showed that the rats that were believed by the students to be smart,

were able to learn the mazes much quicker. What the children did not know, i.e., what

Rosenthal had kept hidden, was that the rats were chosen at random. There were no rats that

were especially bright or dull. Another case of the experimenter expectancy effect was that of

the horse known as "Clever Hans". It seemed to be able to read, spell, and solve math problems

by kicking his leg a number of times.

The horse was tested and passed, but what the experts did

not realize was that their own hopes for the horse to answer the questions, were giving the horse

signs on which he based his answers. That is, if someone on the committee raised his/her

eyebrows in anticipation of the oncoming correct answer, the horse would stop stomping. Once

again, the experimenter's cues decided the outcome of the tests. Acting on these results,

Rosenthal and Jacobson hypothesized that teacher's expectancies would cause them

unintentionally to treat the students they thought to be bright in a different manner than those

they thought to be average or even less bright.

Rosenthal and Jacobson used some materials that were important in the completing their

investigation. The experimenters used students and their teachers as the subjects...