What is the Halo effect?

The halo effect implies that a single positive perception of one trait can influence how people perceive other aspects of a person/element. This bias affects our objectivity while evaluating because our first judgments strongly influence us. The horn bias is the negative or reverse form of the halo bias: any negative trait is applied globally. Both halo and horn bias are strongly correlated with stereotypes, which are mental shortcuts that assign a set of exaggerated characteristics to a social group.

How does the Halo effect influence my life?

Marketing strongly relies on the halo power to promote new products and services based on the positive values associated with some brands or people. The horn effect manifests itself in racism, sexism, classism, or contempt for any social group: associating negative values with a person simply because we consider them part of a stereotypical group. Prejudices and discrimination are the terrible consequences that, unfortunately, the horn bias can bring to our lives.

What can I do about it?

Be neutral in your evaluations: use an objective scale previously defined for any performance appraisal. Give time and space to people to show all the potential.

Benchmark yourself against all the stereotypes that can be assigned to you to realize how ridiculous and misplaced they are. Avoid the oversimplifications that the stereotypes are based on to enjoy the complexity and richness behind any human being.

If you want to apply this knowledge in a career focused on the common good, check our Master's degrees: International Management, Finance or Talent Management, and start to change the world with us.

Because we’re re-solved to advance. We have the re-solution to advance.


Schneider, F.W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M., Applied Social Psychology (2012)

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T Joel Wade - Bucknell University

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