Facts & Comment

All about Halo Effect and how it affects your daily life

Halo Effect

We feel and think about someone’s character based on our overall impression of them, or the halo effect. The way you perceive a person (e.g., “He is nice!”) influences how you perceive specific characteristics of that person (e.g., “He is also smart!”). People’s perceptions of one trait influence their perceptions of other traits.

The halo effect is best exemplified by our impressions of celebrities. People tend to perceive them as attractive, successful, and funny in addition to being intelligent, kind and successful.

Halo Effect: What Is It?

There is also something known as the halo effect, which is a concept that implies “what is beautiful is also good”.

The halo effect is often a result of physical appearance. Positive attributes are also more likely to be rated higher for attractive people.

This effect does not only affect our perception of people based on their attractiveness. It can also affect other characteristics. People perceived as likeable and intelligent might also be sociable or kind. The halo effect leads to biased judgment about other qualities based on perceptions about one quality.

According to the term, it can impact perceptions in the same way as an illusionary halo. Religious artwork often depicts saints with haloes, bathing them in a heavenly light to demonstrate their virtue.

When you see someone through the halo effect, you see them as if they were cast in the same light. As if they had the same “halo” created by your perception of one quality. 


In 1920, Edward L. Thorndike, an American psychologist, coined the term “halo effect.”. During experiments in which men ranked subordinates, Thorndike observed similar effects among military officers.

Thorndike ordered the superiors to rank the subordinates before they communicated with them. Intelligence and leadership, among the factors considered.

As a result of these results, Thorndike concluded that the officers attached positive and negative traits that had nothing to do with their physical traits.

In one case, a tall and handsome subordinate was thought to be the smartest. His overall performance was considered superior as well. Physical appearances play the largest role in determining our overall impression of another’s character, Thorndike found.

How the Halo Effect affects the world

It is possible that the halo effect has a real-life impact in a number of situations.

The Education Sector

Halo effects may be present in educational settings. Students perceive attractiveness differently from the teachers. Teachers have better expectations of kids they deem more attractive, according to previous research.

Following that, researchers compared the grades students earned in traditional classroom settings versus online classes. According to researchers, online students with above-average looks often earned poorer grades than those with traditional appearances.


In work settings, the halo effect can influence perceptions of others in a variety of ways. Among the common biases that affect performance appraisals and reviews are, for example, halo effects. The supervisor may consider only one characteristic to be important rather than the full scope of a subordinate’s performance and contributions. It is possible, for instance, for coworkers to overrate employees based on their enthusiasm or positive attitude rather than their actual performance.

It is also possible for the halo effect to affect income. Researchers found that attractive food servers earned approximately $1,200 more in tips per year than their unattractive counterparts in a study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology.

An additional study found that physical attractiveness does not only enhance self-esteem, but also makes a person more likely to make a good living.

Halo effects may also affect job applicants. Employers are more likely to view candidates as intelligent, competent, and qualified when they find them attractive or likable.

As a marketer

By leveraging the halo effect, marketers can sell products and services. A celebrity spokesperson’s endorsement of a particular product may influence how we perceive the item itself.


Having a halo effect bias can heavily skew our perceptions of someone’s expertise or advice. Because we usually overrate someone’s advice if we like them, even if their advice isn’t great. If we don’t like someone, we may ignore their advice.

I find it difficult to ignore my own biases completely. We act on our feelings and often act according to our emotions. It is important to stop and think about your decisions, as the halo effect may negatively impact your otherwise sound judgment.

Also Read: Top 10 Types of Personality Disorders: A Guide to Personality Types

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