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Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Halo Effect

Edward Thorndike, the most celebrated psychologist due to his phenomenal sphere of influence in the field of education is accredited for coining this term. Literature has it that based on his empirical research, “The Constant Error in Psychological Ratings” published in 1920 reported that the grading of one characteristic influence judgment of a person with other characteristics even if they are entirely unrelated.
This is called Halo Effect.
It is a cognitive bias in which we try to draw a general impression of a person from a single element of his/her characteristics. Because of a single good or bad appearance, we stereotype and cloud our judgment that rest of the neutral or otherwise ambiguous traits to be of same color and taste.
The syndrome of this phenomenon has invaded on every mankind and working atmosphere that its interference has generally caused hiccups to the powerhouse of our perception. That’s why the ecosystem of our thinking is never identical even if we observe the same thing at the same time.
Let us think of celebrities since they inherit a lion’s share of likes in the Facebook for their photos or tons of retweets in the twitter for their posts. Because we observe them attractive or successful, we convert and camouflage our impression that they WOULD possess all kinds of imaginary characteristics we craft in our minds. In another case we largely assume that a qualified chef who can cook delectable continental dishes can appetite us with the Greek or Oceanian cuisine with an equivalent proficiency. Or we equate a nice person to be always smart. In workplaces, be it coincidental or intentional, that small filament of work we do if, pleases the mind of the mighty boss certainly does magic in glowing our annual performance review with a label of being competent and proficient.
And unfortunately, the value of human life is sustaining with casualty and injury because these adjectives have become a concrete and binding indicators to demarcate human position. It has been a socially accepted standard for measurement of human competence. But one thing all of us know is that like the standard scientific formula, all these adjectives that catalog people into different zones is just a human invention.    
The halo effect has an intense and adverse implications. It pronounce discrimination in assessment because it fails to calculate one’s real caliber. If hardworking and sincere are exposed to the cancer of this phenomena, they will die with a stunted growth of hope and optimism and stop walking extra miles.
Thus, realization and understanding about this psychological event is the key thing that we need to know first, both from the stand of being boss and subordinate. Otherwise when these become the missing links, the so-called beautiful world, will still look ugly.   

“If you were me, you’d know. But you’re not, so don’t think you do” –Anonymous 


  1. This is one of my pet hates, Dumcho!
    Oh how I detest the way people are judged on a single aspect of their characters, when we are all extremely complex beings - for instance, the most "evil" person will possess goodness somewhere in their psyche...and the "sainted" type, some less good aspects if we look below the surface.
    None of us are perfect...otherwise we wouldn't need the lessons of life on earth, would we?

    Many thanks, Dumcho, for another very thought-provoking post! :)

    1. Thanks Ygriane but the saddest part is that out world is already infected.

  2. One thing we judge about the person is not enough to judge the whole mechanism of his way life. So we must be mindful in sorting out the people through our own thoughts.It's a beautiful and an instructive post Dumcho Sir. Presuming all is going well with sound in health. Regards from me. Do Great. keep inspiring. Take Care. :)

    1. At least after realization, I am do not want to fall into the pool. Hehe.

  3. Correct! We move in a judgmental world. Would have been better if we stop judging one another.

    1. I agree with you. Thanks for the comments.



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