A role model is a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people. The term role model is credited to sociologist Robert K. Merton, who coined the phrase during his career. Merton hypothesized that individuals compare themselves with reference groups of people who occupy the social role to which the individual aspires. An example being the way young fans will idolize and imitate professional athletes or entertainment artists.
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