The ‘halo effect’ is the idea that global evaluations about a person (she is likeable) bleed over into judgments about their specific traits (she is intelligent) (Dean, 2007). I found it fascinating how such a simple concept can influence our thought process towards other people’s specific traits. An example of this is what people think of celebrities. A majority of celebrities are seen as attractive. Because people find them attractive, they assume that they are intelligent and friendly. Once information about them contrasts this assumption, a person’s thoughts can change on how they are viewed. Fictional stories like Cinderella show that the prince and Cinderella are attractive compared to the evil step mother and sisters that are not attractive. Our society views attractive people with more positive traits while unattractive people are assumed to have more negative traits about them. Dean (2007) indicates in the article that although we can understand the halo effect intellectually, we often have no idea when it is actually happening. Since these are thoughts that we process, it would be hard to know exactly why someone is buying a certain pair jeans or why we like someone. At this point in time the halo effect will still be a mystery to how our thoughts are processed. One example of the halo effect that has happened personally is when I took a behavioral psychology class as an undergraduate. There was a new instructor that I had not had in a class before. The instructor was an attractive male in his early 30’s. I assumed that he was very intelligent being a younger instructor in the psychology program. For some reason, there were thoughts that this class would be easy and he would be lenient grader. Halfway through the semester low grades were being given even though hard work was being put into the assignments. Thoughts changed about the instructor that he was a tough instructor, and was not lenient on the grading. After barely passing the class, there was hopes that others classes taken was not taught by that particular instructor. Another example would be working at a Walgreens as a customer service representative. While working there, more costumers would come to me to ask questions or check out items they were buying while there were other customer service representatives in the same area. The two other ladies were in their 40’s and 50’s. Knowing information about the halo effect has shown how a person’s thought process will judge others around them by how attractive they are. Customers at Walgreens could have thought I was more attractive or I seemed very friendly compared to the other ladies. Our society shows just how important looks are to us. The last example is on favoring technology. A few years ago I bought an iPod that is an Apple product. I was so excited to be able to put all my music on one devise and listen to anywhere. After a year of using the IPod, there were problems with the product where I would end up buying a new IPod. While I still have and use an IPod, this is the only product I will buy from Apple. The halo effect plays a big part in this showing that because there were multiple problems with one item, all the other products from that company will have problems too. A lot of people really like Apple products and will only buy from them even though another company will have the same product. The product name on the items has people assuming that no other product from different companies is as good. Understanding the halo effect has helped to show how our thought process influences our judgment towards other people. Everyone in our society has in one way used the halo effect to judge traits about another individual or a product. Since this is something that is hard to control, future judgments will be the same personally. Making these judgments is something that I don’t think about just like everyone else. Unless there is technology or certain techniques to help change someone’s judgment about someone or products, society will stay the same making judgments about certain traits or buy the same products because of the company’s name.
J. Dean. (2007, October 31). The Halo Effect: When Your Own Mind is a Mystery. Retrieved from http://www.spring.org.uk/2007/10/halo-effect-when-your-own-mind-is.php