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The Halo Effect

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 619
  • Category: Mind

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The ‘halo effect’ is a one of a kind finding in psychology. It is the idea that global evaluations about a person that is likeable. A great example of the ‘Halo Effect’ would be Hollywood stars. Because they are often very attractive and likeable and without knowing we guess they are also intelligent. That is, until we all come across evidence that says otherwise. Another great example of the ‘halo effect’ would be politicians. To get votes they try to come off as warm and friendly. People tend to believe their policies are good, because the person. It’s so simple to use the ‘halo effect’. But you would think we could pick up these mistaken judgments, by simply paying closer attention to the details around us Nisbett and Wilson the brilliant minds that put to use the ‘halo effect’, wanted to see how a class of students would make judgments about a lecturer. Students were told the research was examining the teacher evaluations. The students were divided into two groups. The two groups were going to watch two different videos of the same lecturer, who happened to have a strong Belgian accent. One group watched the lecturer answer a series of questions in an extremely warm and friendly environment.

While the second group saw exactly the same person, answer exactly the same questions, but in a cold and distant environment. In the two videos one of them he appeared to like teaching and the students in the class and in the other he came across as a much more arrogant person who didn’t like teach and didn’t want to be there at all. After each group of students watched the videos they were asked to rate the lecturer on physical appearance, and even his accent. Consistent with the halo effect, students who saw the ‘warm’ side of the lecturer rated him more attractive and even is accent as more appreciated. This wasn’t surprising as it backed up previous work on the ‘halo effect’. The experiment was actually quite surprising and informing to me. I would of never guesed that it would be so easy and common to use the halo effect. The halo effect in itself is fascinating. I believed that it was also very well designed and put to use in a great way. It was humane; it actually made me want to try it myself. But what this experiment brought to us is that although we can understand the halo effect in some ways, we often have no idea when it is actually happening.

This is why it makes such a great and useful effect for marketers and politicians. The outcome actually didn’t surprise me, I figured that the students put in the cold and distant environment wouldn’t have the same outcome as the warm and friendly room. The more I thought about it, it actually made more sense to me, because it proved to me why I do better on test in some classes then others! Maybe the experiment could be improved a little but not much. The small and minor improvements to me would use more types of environments and use different material. We could still use this very same experiment in some classes today and would be considered highly acceptable. So, the next time you vote for a politician, consider buying a pair of designer jeans or decide whether you like someone, ask yourself whether the halo effect is operating. Are you really evaluating the traits of the person or product you thought you were? This simple quick check could save you from voting for the wrong person, wasting your money or rejecting someone who would be a loyal friend.

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