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The Phenomenon Effecting All Our Lives: The Halo Effect

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The Halo Effect: You may have never heard of it, but it is no doubt that it will stick in your mind and even shape your manners after you learn how important it is in your life.

Let’s look at this pretty interesting psychological phenomenon together.

1. The Halo effect is the mistake of passing a judgment on someone based on one single positive trait.

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In other words, it is our first impression forming a basis when making predictions about other characteristics of someone. It is our way of perceiving someone we don’t know based on her appearance, clothes, title, or maybe even their name.

2. This effect creates an illusion that good looking people are also good inside.

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For example, when we see someone well dressed, we automatically attribute several other “good” characteristics to them, like being helpful, tolerant or respectful.

Gestures, bodily movements or psychological conditions that reflect on the body also help this effect to develop.

3. That is to say, the instant impression we get when we see someone for the first time bases the foundation for our further judgments about that person when we are evaluating them.

3. That is to say, the instant impression we get when we see someone for the first time bases the foundation for our further judgments about that person when we are evaluating them.
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So here is the Halo effect, as psychologists call it. In other words, it is the first impressions being the reference points when perceiving another person.

4. Briefly, the Halo effect is the name of positive bias in psychology.

4. Briefly, the Halo effect is the name of positive bias in psychology.
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This effect is a predisposition causing us to assume that we know someone according to our positive impression when we first meet them. And it is a very good example of perceptual errors.

5. It can also be considered a false generalization.

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We generalize our understanding, beliefs and judgements about someone’s personality according to one of their particular traits.

6. The exact opposite of the term is called the “Horn Effect”

6. The exact opposite of the term is called the “Horn Effect”
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The Horn effect is making a negative inference about someone based on one single negative trait of them. For example, “you are a dangerous person if you are badly-dressed,” as opposed to what’s been told above so far.  It’s like: “A badly dressed person might harm others at any minute.”

7. The prejudgement about someone lazy being disrespectful and a liar at the same time, is an example of how the Horn Effect works.

7. The prejudgement about someone lazy being disrespectful and a liar at the same time, is an example of how the Horn Effect works.
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Taking the failure or success of an employee in one single task as a general indication of their overall proficiency, and assuming that they must be good/bad in all other areas stems from the Halo and Horn effects.

8. These two effects come out as the best ways to evaluate others for people who are surrounded by too many stimulants.

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Even assuming that a person with messy clothes applying for a job in your company wouldn’t be as productive as the position requires is an example of the Horn effect.

9. The greatest reflections of the Halo and Horn effects becomes evident in business life.

9. The greatest reflections of the Halo and Horn effects becomes evident in business life.
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The starting point is the Human Resources Specialist of the company you are applying for.

All the positive and negative details, from your tiny little picture attached to your resume to the e-mail address you give, effect whether or not the HR specialist will call you for an interview - and this would most probably be independent from your skills or work experience.

10. Depending on the impression we leave with our tiny little pictures attached to our resumes, we form a perception in the interviewer's mind about many of our other traits and characteristics, such as our physical appearance or whether or not we are responsible.

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Even the perfume we choose to wear or a nice dress/suit can make the employer ignore many other details. Or, the other way around. We create an impression that a person who is so attentive about his/her looks would perform a similar performance when it comes to his/her job.

And, vice versa.

11. So, how can the Halo Effect be created?

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Creating this effect is a two-step process. The first step is your resume, and the second one is the interview. The second step begins when you first meet with the interviewer; your looks, posture, handshake and your sitting position start and end the process before you know it.

You better keep this in mind when going to an interview; the Halo Effect you’ll create is all up to you!

12. Lastly, let us leave you with a thought-provoking video about the Halo effect:

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