The “Monster” Study
It’s commonly known that being told you’re a bad person tends to make you believe you’re bad…and possibly act out. That’s why people warn others against negative outlooks; it’s a way to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
A study conducted in the University of Iowa in 1939 wanted to prove that by using orphans with speech issues. One group of children were told they were going to succeed, while the others were told they were doomed to fail.
They discovered, unsurprisingly, that the positive children did well with treatment. The children told they were going to fail, though, often saw their stuttering get worse. Those who had normal speech patterns often just became anxious, depressed, and withdrawn.
The cruelty of this experiment gained national attention. In 2007, the school was sued for its cruelty and had to pay $925,000 for their misdeeds in the 1930s.