Halo Effect Examples

The halo effect refers to our tendency to judge a person, place, or thing based on a single characteristic or trait. This is an example of cognitive bias in which a person is influenced by his/her previous judgments of performance or personality.

The halo effect hinders our ability to think critically, and it often leads to biased assessments and inaccurate judgments. It happens when we start making positive assumptions or judgments about people based on something positive we notice in them.

In reality, we don’t know much about them, and we subconsciously attach a “halo” to them anyway because we think they seem nice.

Due to the halo effect, we notice a single trait about someone and then attach other qualities to them and form an overall impression, and instead of making careful and deliberative evaluations of independent factors, we rate the person as, overall, amazing! For example, you may consider an attractive person to be friendly. Edward Thorndike, an American psychologist, first used the term ‘halo effect’ in 1920.

Examples of the Halo Effect

#1. Love at first sight!

When you fall in love with someone and start dating the person, everything goes well in the beginning as both of you make positive impressions about each other, and you might not notice the downsides as much, or even not at all. However, this halo effect may fade over time, and you might start finding your partner’s actions to be unpleasant and intolerable and end up terminating the relationship.

#2. Academic Record

A person may be considered an excellent employee or hard worker just because he/she has graduated from a reputed university. The behaviour of this person is mostly interpreted in favourable terms, and everything he/she does will be filtered through the lens of where they graduated. While evaluating these persons, supervisors may give them higher marks than they deserve.

#3. Job Recommendation

An employer comes under the halo effect when he receives a recommendation from a trusted source while hiring an employee. The trusted source may be a friend, family member, or an old employee. In this case, the employer blindly trusts the attributes of the new employee based on his impression of the person who has made the recommendation.

#4. Physical Attraction

Good-looking people are sometimes more successful at interviews and earn higher salaries than people considered less attractive. Due to the halo effect, recruiters often equate physical attractiveness and general likeability with intelligence, competence, and the ability to perform well at work.

Recruiters might assume they are smart, funny, and have a good work ethic. This halo effect is so general that it is often called “what is beautiful is good.”

#5. Consumers’ Choice

A consumer who has a good experience of using a particular product of a company usually considers all the other products the company produces good due to the halo effect, and it encourages them to purchase them. Similarly, people often get attracted to buy a product endorsed by their favourite celebrities.

#6. Favourite Employee

Managers may judge the performance of employees based on their enthusiasm rather than their actual skill. This halo effect affects peer reviews and performance appraisals, and the employee who displays enthusiasm frequently during work might receive a higher rating than his/her performance deserves.

#7. Dressing Sense

A well-dressed employee is often judged as having a good work ethic, while the employee who’s dressed casually is judged as not having a good enough work ethic.

This cognitive bias is also noticed during job interviews. This halo effect often overshadows the skill or knowledge of the employee, and the employee might receive a higher rating than his/her performance deserves.

#8. Youthfulness

People often have more favourable perceptions of people with younger, baby-like appearances than older and mature people.

#9. Teacher’s Pet

While evaluating students, a teacher might assume that a well-behaved student is also good at studying. It has been found that teachers generally develop expectations for their students not just based on their academic record but also on their physical appearance.

#10. Cheery Employee

It has been found that while evaluating employees for appraisals and promotions, supervisors often give higher marks to cheerful employees than their skills. Even though these employees may not do very good work at all, they may receive a few points higher than they actually deserve just because of the halo effect.

#11. First Impression

When we meet a person for the first time and get a positive impression, we start thinking positively about that person in almost every walk of life. We will always judge that person based on our initial impression, no matter what the person does.

#12. Parents Positive Bias

After noticing one positive trait of their child, parents often start boasting to everyone about how smart and amazing their child is. A parent’s positive bias is an example of the halo effect.

#13. Awards and Accolades

When a person or firm wins an award or earns accolades for their work/services, it is assumed that their upcoming work will also have the same or higher quality.

This halo effect leads to elevated expectations and a willingness from audiences to overlook potential shortcomings; however, it’s not a guarantee that every piece of work from the same creator will achieve the same level of greatness.

#14. Attractive Packaging

The halo effect of attractive packaging is so great that even if the same item is available in two different packaging, the one having more attractive packaging is perceived as superior. Most customers make purchasing decisions based on the aesthetic appeal of packaging rather than the quality of the product inside.

Leave a Comment