Halo Effect: How The Halo Effect Influences How We Perceive Others

November 06, 2020

Halo effect
Halo Effect

What is the Halo Effect?

The American psychologist Edward Thorndike described a psychological experiment in his 1920 paper, The Constant Error in Psychological Ratings. In this test, some commanding officers of the military department were asked to evaluate the different skills of the soldiers under them. Many of these skills categories included: leadership, physical structure, intelligence, loyalty, dependence, and so on. Thorndike's aim was to investigate how the charge of a particular skill affects the assessment of other features. As it turns out, if the first quality that people notice is positive, then their other qualities will be usually over-evaluated.

The American psychologist Edward Thorndike


Let me give you an example- When we saw a handsome man, we look at his physical beauty and assume that all the other features of his personality will be positive. We tend to think that the man is intelligent, prudent, and even a good man in principle. Most of the time we don't think that we don't have enough information to decide on these features. In another word, we haven't encountered any event from which we can make this judgment of whether the man is intelligent or morally good. But our brain tends to make decisions before analyzing someone's personality. Thus, we fall prey to a delusion.

Halo Effect

We find this illusion in every aspect of our lives: from school to office and marketing campaigns. When this delusion overwhelms our decision-making ability, we lose the ability to think analytically about everything. In this way, it greatly increased the chances of us misjudging others, and for this, we lost many important opportunities in life. 

One of the reasons, why the halo effect is created, is that people's social attitudes are a constructive process. When we make an impression on someone, we do not rely on that thematic information. Rather, we create in our mind a reflection of what we already know. However, judging someone's personality by appearance or dress or beauty is really childish. But even then most people can't avoid it. Studies have shown that such external beauties create the easiest halo effect. 

If we know about the halo effect, we can control our lives a little more. When judging a person, in any political election we can understand how a positive trait is influencing overall decision making. In this way, we will not be able to completely erase the error, but we will be able to decrease it in many other ways. 

One way to avoid the halo effect is to slow down your reasoning process. That means you can't make any judgment quickly. Let's give an example. you have to try to make more than one possible impression on any person. Then you have to question those impressions again and again. Gradually when you will find more information about the person then you can analyze the information to match the impression. 

It is easy to avoid the halo effect when it comes to products or brands. If there is any positive impression on a brand, then people want to buy the product of that brand again and again, even if the quality of the product has nothing to do with that impression. So when you go to buy something from the brand of your choice, you have to judge it with extra caution, you have to compare it with other brands. Because the most popular or expensive brand doesn't mean their product is will be the best.

What is the horn Effect?

When the halo effect works in reverse, then it is called the 'Horn effect'. The positive qualities of someone as a result of the hello effect create a good idea about them in our minds as a whole. In the case of the horns effect, one's negative quality creates a completely negative impression about that person to our mind. For example, if someone does not like the look of a product, even if it is the best product in the market, he will show a tendency not to buy it.

Halo Effect

To give an example of the hello effect from the everyday world, unfortunately, the medical field comes first. The doctor often judges the patient by looking at his/her appearance. This increases the possibility of giving the wrong treatment to the patient. It has the greatest impact on Psychiatry most. Seeing someone in good health, doctors tend to make such decisions that they are also mentally healthy. There is no way to know if someone is mentally healthy without talking to them. As a result of such trends, some studies have claimed that external beauty hinders the process of judging wellness. 

Halo Effect in School

Another area affected by the halo effect is school. In one study, Judging by the attractiveness of the pictures of more than four and a half thousand students, they were given numbers from 1 to 10. Then they compared The test numbers taken online with the tests taken in their classroom. Surprisingly, the most attractive students got lower marks in the online exams than in the class. 

In another test, student's essays were sent to the teacher for verification. However, some of the students were renamed famous and interesting people. The rest, on the other hand, were given common names. It turned out that those who were named after famous people got better marks than everyone else. These tests show that even the most experienced teacher can fall into the trap of the halo effect.

Halo Effect

The halo effect at work also gives rise to many mistakes. As a result, many do not receive satisfactory performance bonuses and evaluations. Supervisors often measure everyone by a certain qualification. For example, an employee's interest and a positive attitude can cover his lack of knowledge and skills. In this way, he gets a lot more opportunities than he deserves. According to a study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology, handsome food servers receive 1,200 more per year than others. In the consumer market, various campaigns and advertisements are run with famous celebrities for the same reason. In this way, consumers can be influenced to spend more than they need. 

When judging someone, we should be careful about what is really good and what is bad. It is important to make a habit of analyzing whether we are judging another by virtue of one quality. Of course, knowing the halo effect doesn't make it easy to avoid it. This is one of the many misconceptions that help people make quick decisions but makes mistakes in those decisions.

Share this article with your loved ones to make them aware of the Halo effect.

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  1. That's amazing written... and I think it's common effect seen on everyone...



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