The halo effect is the effect where one quality about something or someone can affect the overall judgment of that thing or person by someone else. It is a cognitive bias in the field of psychology. It is also sometimes called the halo error.
History[change | change source]
The halo effect was first introduced in 1920 by Edward Thorndike. It was used to describe how thoughts about one part of something can change how other parts of that thing are seen. An example is how good someone looks can make people think that the person is good at other things just because they look good. When the halo effect is talked about it is mostly used to talk about how it affects people, but it can be used for things like companies or people of a country 
Usage[change | change source]
The halo effect is seen in many different ways. One way it is seen is for trust. People that are better looking are seen as easier to trust. Another way it is seen is with personality. If someone has a bad personality then other things about them start to seem bad. In one study there was a college instructor who spoke English with a European accent. He did an interview with two different groups. In one of them he was friendly and in the other one he was not friendly. The group that he was friendly to said good things about him like saying his appearance and accent was good. The group that he was not friendly to said bad things like his appearance and accent were not things they liked. Interestingly, the group that did not like the instructor thought they didn't like him because of things like appearance and accent.
The halo effect can affect politics too. People that are seen as more attractive are also seen as smarter when it comes to politics. They are also seen as more persuasive. People are likely to find attractive people to ask about politics. Also, attractive people are more likely to try to persuade people about politics even if they do not know much about it.
Another way the halo effect is seen is in academia. Students that are seen as more attractive are also seen as more intelligent. People also think that students who are more attractive do better in their studies. This can affect the education of students because of the pygmalion effect. The attractive students would get better things and do better in their studies just because they are attractive. This can also affect jobs. Studies have shown that people are more likely to hire an attractive candidate for a job over an unattractive candidate.  This is because of the halo effect. The people that are hiring think that the more attractive people will be better at the jobs just because of their appearance.
Halo effect is also seen with criminals. Criminals that are more attractive are more likely to get less punishment for crimes than criminals that are seen as unattractive. They were less likely to be arrested or convicted. 
Attractive people were also shown to be more successful in influencing others. One study had children try to influence their classmates. They were offered money as a reward so that they would try their best. The attractive males and females were most successful when it came to trying to influence people of the opposite gender. The unattractive males were most succesful when it came to influencing their own gender.
One study also found that unattractive people were seen as more likely to do bad things that break the rules. Similarly, attractive people were more likely to break the rules to do good things. 
Issues[change | change source]
Some people believe there are problems with the halo effect. As an example, one study suggests that the halo effect is not found everywhere. The study says that sometimes people think the halo effect is affecting something when it is not. This is known as illusory halo. Another study suggested that the halo effect can affect times where a student has to give a review of a teacher. The students may rate the teacher badly because of things that are unrelated. However, it says that even if the halo effect is there it does not make the review meaningless.
Another study suggested that the halo effect can support information that is not in the best interest of science. The study used the example of how people that review scientific journals will give better ratings if they belong to the same field of study. This would have the bad effect of not supporting the best quality information.
References[change | change source]
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