Self-defeating prophecy

Last updated

A self-defeating prophecy (self-destroying or self-denying in some sources) is the complementary opposite of a self-fulfilling prophecy; a prediction that prevents what it predicts from happening. This is also known as the prophet's dilemma.

Contents

A self-defeating prophecy can be the result of rebellion to the prediction. If the audience of a prediction has an interest in seeing it falsified, and its fulfillment depends on their actions or inaction, their actions upon hearing it will make the prediction less plausible. If a prediction is made with this outcome specifically in mind, it is commonly referred to as reverse psychology or warning. Also, when working to make a premonition come true, one can inadvertently change the circumstances so much that the prophecy cannot come true.

It is important to distinguish a self-defeating prophecy from a self-fulfilling prophecy that predicts a negative outcome. If a prophecy of a negative outcome is made, and that negative outcome is achieved as a result of positive feedback, then it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, if a group of people decide they will not be able to achieve a goal and stop working towards the goal as a result, their prophecy was self-fulfilling. Likewise, if a prediction of a negative outcome is made, but the outcome is positive because of negative feedback resulting from the rebellion, then that is a self-defeating prophecy.

Examples

See also

Related Research Articles

A prophecy is a message that is claimed by a prophet to have been communicated to them by a deity. Such messages typically involve inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of divine will concerning the prophet's social world and events to come.

Moral hazard Increases in the exposure to risk when insured, or when another bears the cost

In economics, moral hazard occurs when an entity has an incentive to increase its exposure to risk because it does not bear the full costs of that risk. For example, when a corporation is insured, it may take on higher risk knowing that its insurance will pay the associated costs. A moral hazard may occur where the actions of the risk-taking party change to the detriment of the cost-bearing party after a financial transaction has taken place.

Positive feedback Destabilising process that occurs in a feedback loop

Positive feedback is a process that occurs in a feedback loop which exacerbates the effects of a small disturbance. That is, the effects of a perturbation on a system include an increase in the magnitude of the perturbation. That is, A produces more of B which in turn produces more of A. In contrast, a system in which the results of a change act to reduce or counteract it has negative feedback. Both concepts play an important role in science and engineering, including biology, chemistry, and cybernetics.

A self-fulfilling prophecy is the sociopsychological phenomenon of someone "predicting" or expecting something, and this "prediction" or expectation coming true simply because the person believes it will and the person's resulting behaviors aligning to fulfill the belief. This suggests that people's beliefs influence their actions. The principle behind this phenomenon is that people create consequences regarding people or events, based on previous knowledge of the subject. A self-fulfilling prophecy is applicable to either negative or positive outcomes. It can be concluded that establishing a label towards someone or something significantly impacts their perception and influences them to establish self-fulfilling prophecy. Our interpersonal communication plays a significant role in establishing these phenomenon as well as impacting the labeling process. Intrapersonal communication can have both positive and negative effects, dependent on the nature of the self-fulfilling prophecy that a person has on a self-fulfilling prophecy, this will impact their outcome when dealing with self-fulfilling prophecies.

Expectation (epistemic) future event or consequence that is considered or anticipated to be the most likely to happen

In the case of uncertainty, expectation is event that considered the most likely to happen. An expectation, which is a belief that is centered on the future, may or may not be realistic. A less advantageous result gives rise to the emotion of disappointment. If something happens that is not at all expected, it is a surprise. An expectation about the behavior or performance of another person, expressed to that person, may have the nature of a strong request, or an order; this kind of expectation is called a social norm. The degree to which something is expected to be true can be expressed using fuzzy logic.

A prediction, or forecast, is a statement about a future event. They are often, but not always, based upon experience or knowledge. There is no universal agreement about the exact difference from "estimation"; different authors and disciplines ascribe different connotations.

The terms virtuous circle and vicious circle, also known respectively as virtuous cycle and vicious cycle, refer to complex chains of events that reinforce themselves through a feedback loop. A virtuous circle has favorable results, while a vicious circle has detrimental results.

Cognitive distortion An exaggerated or irrational thought pattern involved in the onset or perpetuation of psychopathological states

A cognitive distortion is an exaggerated or irrational thought pattern involved in the onset or perpetuation of psychopathological states, such as depression and anxiety. Psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck laid the groundwork for the study of these distortions, and his student David D. Burns continued research on the topic. In his book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, Burns described personal and professional anecdotes related to cognitive distortions and their elimination.

Micaiah biblical prophet, disciple of Elijah

Micaiah, son of Imlah, is a prophet in the Hebrew Bible. He is one of the four disciples of Elijah and not to be confused with Micah, prophet of the Book of Micah.

In the psychology of affective forecasting, the impact bias, a form of which is the durability bias, is the tendency for people to overestimate the length or the intensity of future emotional states.

A currency crisis is a situation in which serious doubt exists as to whether a country's central bank has sufficient foreign exchange reserves to maintain the country's fixed exchange rate. The crisis is often accompanied by a speculative attack in the foreign exchange market. A currency crisis results from chronic balance of payments deficits, and thus is also called a balance of payments crisis. Often such a crisis culminates in a devaluation of the currency.

Affective forecasting is the prediction of one's affect in the future. As a process that influences preferences, decisions, and behavior, affective forecasting is studied by both psychologists and economists, with broad applications.

Predictive modeling uses statistics to predict outcomes. Most often the event one wants to predict is in the future, but predictive modelling can be applied to any type of unknown event, regardless of when it occurred. For example, predictive models are often used to detect crimes and identify suspects, after the crime has taken place.

Financial crisis Situation in which financial assets suddenly lose a large part of their nominal value

A financial crisis is any of a broad variety of situations in which some financial assets suddenly lose a large part of their nominal value. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, many financial crises were associated with banking panics, and many recessions coincided with these panics. Other situations that are often called financial crises include stock market crashes and the bursting of other financial bubbles, currency crises, and sovereign defaults. Financial crises directly result in a loss of paper wealth but do not necessarily result in significant changes in the real economy.

Doomsday cult is an expression used to describe cults that believe in apocalypticism and millenarianism and can refer both to groups that predict disaster and those that attempt to bring it about to destroy the entirety of the universe. The expression was first used by sociologist John Lofland in his 1966 study of a group of members of the Unification Church of the United States, Doomsday Cult: A Study of Conversion, Proselytization, and Maintenance of Faith. A classic study of a group with cataclysmic predictions had previously been performed by Leon Festinger and other researchers, and was published in his book When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group That Predicted the Destruction of the World.

In epistemology, and more specifically, the sociology of knowledge, reflexivity refers to circular relationships between cause and effect, especially as embedded in human belief structures. A reflexive relationship is bidirectional with both the cause and the effect affecting one another in a relationship in which neither can be assigned as causes or effects.

Disconfirmed expectancy is a psychological term for what is commonly known as a failed prophecy. According to the American social psychologist Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance, disconfirmed expectancies create a state of psychological discomfort because the outcome contradicts expectancy. Upon recognizing the falsification of an expected event an individual will experience the competing cognitions, "I believe [X]," and, "I observed [Y]." The individual must either discard the now disconfirmed belief or justify why it has not actually been disconfirmed. As such, disconfirmed expectancy and the factors surrounding the individual's consequent actions have been studied in various settings.

A self-validating reduction is kind of self-fulfilling prophecy of which the result is a dramatic reduction in a person, group, or natural being. This term was coined by Anthony Weston and used in his book Back to Earth in 1994. Following Weston's work, Bob Jickling, et al. in Environmental Education, Ethics, and Action wrote:

Anticipatory governance, or anticipatory profiling, is the practice used by the state to collect information and data about its citizens in order to assess events or behaviours in a predictable manner based on the knowledge gathered. Anticipatory governance is also a method of decision making that uses predictive measures to anticipate possible outcomes to then make decisions based on the data provided. Anticipatory governance is a system of governing that is made up of processes and institutions that rely on foresight and predictions to decrease risk and develop efficient methods to address events in their early conception or prevent them altogether. 

References

  1. Hemerijck, Anton; Ben Knapen; Ellen van Doorne (2009). Aftershocks: Economic Crisis and Institutional Choice. Amsterdam University Press. p. 259. ISBN   978-9089641922 . Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  2. Jonah 1:2–3 from Book of Jonah
  3. Jonah 3:4–10
  4. Boudry, Maarten. "A strange paradox: the better we manage to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the less we will learn from it". The Conversation. Retrieved 2020-05-06.