Schemas and self fulfilling prophecy

Schemas and self fulfilling prophecy

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Question 1 Discussion 1 Schemas

Most everyone has seen criminal trials (both fictitious and real) on TV. You know, then, that the trial starts with opening statements and ends with closing arguments by the prosecution and defense, respectively.

For this Discussion, you will examine the advantages and disadvantages of schemas.

To Prepare

  • Review the Learning Resources for this week and consider the advantages and disadvantages of schema.
  • Imagine you are a juror. Exactly how do opening statements and closing arguments function as schemas? In particular, what impact would opening statements have on how you, as a juror, would interpret evidence proffered at trial?

Part A


Post how your preconceptions (i.e., your schema) might supersede the schema (i.e., theory) of the case as presented by attorneys for the state and for the defendant during opening statements. How might the strength of your preconceptions cause you to reject the attorneys’ attempt to provide a schema for the case?

Part B

Respond to at least one colleague in the following way:

During jury selection, attorneys for the prosecution and defense question prospective jurors to determine who may already have decided the defendant’s guilt or innocence before hearing the attorneys present the case. As an attorney, it is your job to expose and then counter juror preconceptions that may make them resistant to your schema for the case. Your class colleagues have described how their preconceptions might override the schema you, as attorney, would advance during opening statements. Describe the strategy you might use to persuade the resistant juror (i.e., the class colleague you are responding to) to set aside her or his preconceptions and consider what you have to say.

Question 2 Discussion 2 Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

A good friend of yours has just met someone she thinks you would really like; she claims you and this new person have much in common and wants to arrange a lunch meeting. Because you trust your friend’s judgment, you agree to lunch. How might your lunch meeting unfold?

For this Discussion, you will analyze the effect of self-fulfilling prophecies on education, careers, and relationships.

  • Think of a time when you expected a new acquaintance to act a particular way.
  • Review the Learning Resources for this week and consider how self-fulfilling prophecies could affect your own education, career, and relationships.


Post a description of how your expectations might influence your behavior toward a new acquaintance. Explain whether self-fulfilling prophecy made it more likely the new acquaintance would be just the kind of person you had expected him or her to be. Explain the implications of the self-fulfilling prophecy for your own education, career(s), and relationships.


Stolle, D. P., & Slain, A. J. (1997). Standard form contracts and contract schemas: a preliminary investigation of the effects of exculpatory clauses on consumers’ propensity to sue. Behavioral Sciences & The Law15(1), 83–94.

Madon, S., Jussim, L., Guyll, M., Nofziger, H., Salib, E. R., Willard, J., & Scherr, K. C. (2018). The accumulation of stereotype-based self-fulfilling prophecies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology115(5), 825–844.