The tendency to allow one characteristic of an individual to influence our judgment of other characteristicsThe halo effect may work positively or negatively. If a person appears outgoing and attractive, we may judge him to be brighter than he is. If he is disagreeable or distasteful, we may judge his intelligence more severely.The halo effect is a common reaction, and a compelling illustration of the power of suggestion. It is also one of the major sources of personal bias and distortions of judgment. Teachers must guard against the halo effect, since a favorable or unfavorable impression of a child’s personality may influence the grades she gives or the way she treats the child in class. Motion-picture producers know that by using a well-known star in a film, they can influence box office receipts out of all proportion to the merits of the production. Politiciansrealize that personal magnetism can go far toward convincing the public that they will make competent public servants.The halo effect is of particular importance in personnel selection. The applicant for a job or for admission to a school or college knows that first impressions often mean a great deal; he therefore dresses and comports himself accordingly. The interviewer, however, has usually been trained to put this general impression in its proper perspective and not give it more weight than it deserves. Personnel psychologists have also devised a number of specific procedures to counteract the halo effect. One technique is to use objective rating scales instead of asking the interviewer to write his own description of the applicant. A second is to have two or three interviewers appraise each applicant. A third is the policy of having one personnel officer test the applicant and another interview him. These methods usually reduce personal bias even though they may not eliminate it altogether.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "HALO EFFECT," in PsychologyDictionary.org, November 28, 2018, https://psychologydictionary.org/halo-effect/ (accessed October 4, 2022).


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