The Thomas Theorem is a sociology theory that provides that the opinion or analysis of a situation, regardless of the situation, causes the action. It matters not whether the interpretation itself is right or wrong. As such, various scholars consider the Thomas Theorem as a self-fulfilling prophecy (Merton 1995). The hypothesis progressively influences individual life policies and the individual personalities. Further the concept stresses that things such as societal challenges relating to intimacy, education, or family play an important role concerning situations while perceiving the social world where subjective influences may be anticipated on to life thus become a reality. As such, when people define circumstances as real they become real because of their subsequent actions.
As per the Thomas Theorem, the interaction between teachers who considers a student to be more intelligent than they are would be different from such teacher’s interaction with other students. The relationship may change in various ways. The teacher would most likely start to give more attention to the student especially regarding the student’s contributions in class. Consequently, the teacher is likely to become more excited with his/her perceived intelligence of the student to a point where the teacher lacks objectivity while awarding grades to a student during assessment tests. Further, the teacher who believes that a student is more intelligent is likely to agree more with the student to the extent where the teacher to changes his/her beliefs to conform to those of the student. The teacher is also likely to devalue the contributions of other students whose views do not conform with the opinions of the student considered to be more intelligent. Other students are bound to have a fair opinion that the teacher provides preferential treatment to a student.
The Thomas Theorem is a beneficial theory especially in cases where some students realize that the teacher accords them preferential treatment. Such students will have a higher self-esteem believing that they are better than other students. Usually, people present themselves in a manner depicting their life experiences and the level of interaction with others (Surhone, 2010). As such, since a teacher will generally treat a perceived intelligent student with higher esteem than others, the student will present him/herself with a higher esteem before classmates believing that other people also consider them more intelligent. Accordingly, the classmates will gradually believe that the student who is favored by a teacher is more intelligent than them (Melton, 1996). As such, the Thomas Theory is beneficial because it enhances self-esteem.
The law enforcement agencies use the Thomas Theory to enforce policies when necessary. For instance, because individuals who believe in the Thomas theory tend to experience mental delirium or become more excited about various situations, they may insist that the police deal with future situations in a particular manner to avoid disasters. Consequently, the law enforcement agents may heed the warnings believing that a person reporting about something he/she believes to be imminent has a genuine concern. As such, the police end up implementing certain policies aimed at averting the disaster and in the process enhance the security of the citizens. However, where the law enforcement agents realize that a person is simply delirious they may fail to heed the fair warnings of such persons. Accordingly, if the concerns are genuine despite the fact that they are from an overly excited person the police may fail to act in time to prevent a disaster (Lawrence, 2007). To that extent, the Thomas Theory is beneficial.
Lawrence, C. (2007). The Thomas Theorem: Frontline response to excited delirium. Retrieved
Melton R. (1996). On Social Structure and Science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, p.
Merton, R. (1995). The Thomas Theorem and The Matthew Effect. Social Forces, 74(2), 379-
Surhone, L., Timpledon, M., Marseken, S. (2010). Thomas Theorem. Betascript Publishing.