a term proposed by Robert Merton to a basic process that occurs often in society. When a false belief and definition of a situation is upheld, new behaviors by participants make the original false conception become true in practice and perpetuate a reign of error. Further developed by W. I. Thomas who stated the classic aphorism, "When people define situations as real, they become real in their consequences."
the case whereby people (a) have an expectation about what another person is like, which (b) influences how they act toward that person, which (c) causes that person to behave in a way consistent with people's original expectations
the tendency for one person's expectations to influence another person to behave in accordance with them. (599)