The Halo Effect amongst undergraduate students at NUC essay

TheHalo Effect amongst undergraduate students at NUC

TheHalo Effect amongst undergraduate students at NUC


Abstract 2

Literature Review 3

Methodology 6

Participant 6

Materials 6

Procedure 6

Statistical analysis 7

Results: 7

Descriptive results: 7

Inferential results 9

Discussion: 9


HaloEffect is a form of bias that an individual usually has, it isusually brought about by the impression that a person has towards acertain person, group of people or entity and therefore, his feelingand behavior towards such are motivated by the views that he has. Themajor area where Halo Effect comes into the use is in relation to theattraction. Naturally, people are usually drawn to features thatappeal to their eyes. As a result, there is a chance that such peoplecould develop positive thoughts regarding an item that seemsattractive to them although the case may not be true in the actualsense. For such reasons, it is important to delve deep into the topicof Halo Effect in a bid to assess the claim and at the same time,attempt to bring out the reasons why the phenomenon is highlyeffective. A study was conducted in a bid to analyze the effect moreclosely. The design of this experiment directly assessed the HaloEffect amongst undergraduate students at NUC. The sample sizeincluded 37 participants, of whom 2 were male while 3 were female.The average weight of the participants was established to be 33.48with a standard deviation of 9.30. The participants were made to lookat a total of 23 computer slides. They were then made to fill somequestionnaires where they were supposed to provide their viewsregarding the perceptions that they developed as a result of lookingat the photos. The analysis of the findings relied on the responsethat was given by the female respondents only. The questionnaireswere coded, and any anomalies were identified so as only those thatwere valid and relied could be picked out. This gave rise to a totalof 31 questionnaires. The findings showed that ‘attractiveness’had a correlation with ‘intelligent’ with an r of 0.52 whilethere was no form of correlation between, attractiveness’ and‘happiness.’ This points out to the picture that it would beeasier for an individual to conclude that an individual who isgood-looking is intelligent but may not associate such a person withbeing happy.Fromthe findings, it is clear that the Halo Effect is real and has a biginfluence on how people view different aspects of life. The effect isalso more pronounced in some people compared to others.


Physicalattractiveness is something that most people do appreciate. At thesame time, it is important to note that the definition ofattractiveness varies from one person to another. However, there aresome items that are appealing to a large number of people and assuch, they may agree in unison that it is attractive (Lucker, Beane,&ampHemreich, 1981). This is the same even with physical looks.

TheHalo Effect phenomenon comes into play, in that, there is a bigchance that people will look at an individual who is physicallyattractive with a great level of positive perception. Such peopleare, therefore, bound to treat the beautiful person with a high levelof honor. This scenario is a common occurrence in the current society(Little, Burt, &amp Perrett, 2006). For instance, people are boundto be more welcome to women who are ranked high regarding physicalattractiveness.

Eaglyet al. (1991) state that there is an association between beauty andpsychology effect. People are naturally bound to make certainconclusions regarding another individual purely because of how such aperson looks like. It is such kind of psychological effect that makessome people to treat others differently. This response is what isreferred to as the Halo Effect. They fully explore the importancethat people need to attach upon physical attractiveness since,regardless of how an individual views it, it will always matter tomany other people.

Ina study conducted by Moore et al. (2011) to assess the relationshipbetween intelligence and the attractive of an individual, it wasestablished that Halo Effect has a huge role to play. Most people whoare physically attractive are also often either actually intelligentor perceived to be so by other people. The study also establishedthat there was also a positive relationship between attractivenessand friendliness. This scenario could be linked to the concept thatsince attractive people normally interacts with a large number ofpeople, they are bound to be good at associating with others,thereby, becoming friendlier compared to others. These results areconsistent for both women and men.

Zebrowitzand Franklin (2014) also do agree with the assertions put forward byMoore et al. (2011). In their study to assess the Halo Effectphenomenon on the baby face stereotype, they found out that mostpeople are mostly drawn towards those who have a baby face. As such,they view such people as quite harmless and innocent. They also findit easy to trust them since they do believe that such people do nothave a tendency of sharing confidential information with otherpeople. Such a practice is normally a result of a given level ofbias. This is because it is not easy to assess the character of agiven individual by merely relying on the looks of such a person.There, usually needs to be more that a person may need so as todetermine the goodness or badness of a given person.

Thispoint is well elaborated by Agthe, et al. (2011) as they analyze thenegative effects of physical attractiveness. In the article dubbed,DoesBeing Attractive Always Help?&nbspTheygo on to explore the problems that people are bound to experience asthey rely solely on physical attractiveness so as a judge a certainindividual. They state that people are bound to have a highlikelihood of overlooking the limitations of ascertaining individualjust because they are attractive. Such kind of an occurrence couldhave detrimental effects, especially on sensitive occasions such asmaking a crucial business decision.

Inspite of the results of the Halo Effect, this phenomenon is mostoften reflex as people have a much less control as to how they mayperceive a certain individual. However, with the knowledge of theexistence of this effect, people are bound to be alive to the ideathat they may end up making wrong judgments regarding other people(Darby 2007). They will, therefore, improve their skills in dealingwith other people and not merely rely on the physical attractivenessof other people while making decisions or while formulatingperceptions about them.


Theparticipants for this experiment were NUC undergraduate students.There was a total of 37 participants – 35 females and 2 males. Theaverage age was 33.48, with a standard deviation of 9.30.


Participantsused a computer to look at 23 slides, showing photographs of thefaces and shoulders of a variety of people (non-celebrities). Theywere also given a questionnaire to complete, based on personalattributes and facial attractiveness. They were asked to rate eachimage using a scale from 0-10. This scale related to specificcriteria, such as intelligence, warmth, ambition and sex appeal.Furthermore, a consent form and information sheet was given to eachparticipant, with adequate information about the experiment.


Thestudy was carried out in the classroom, and participants wereallocated seats. Participants were then given the information sheetto clarify the design and nature of the experiment. The sheetinstructed participants to evaluate the person in each image usingunattractiveness and personal attributes scale, rating them from 0 to10 on multiple criteria. The information also declared that all theresponses remain confidential, and participants had the option towithdraw from the experiment at any point. Moreover, participationwas voluntary with no payment for taking part in the study. Theconsent form also clearly stated that taking part in the study wouldnot lead to any physical or mental harm. All participants signed thisbefore taking part in the study.

Participantssat individually with a computer and used it to look at the slides.Participants were then presented with 23 photographs and were askedto respond to each image by circling one number on an online scalequestionnaire (0-10). The questionnaire listed various charactertraits, including intelligence, warmth, ambition and sex appeal. Thepeople that were shown in the slides were randomly allocatedregardless of their age and gender. Furthermore, participants wereallowed to take as much time as needed to co complete the evaluation,rating attractiveness and personal traits.


Forthe statistical analysis, only female participants were selected.Four women were removed from the analysis, as their questionnaireswere not entirely finalized. Therefore, the number of participantsfor analysis was a total of 31. The software Statistica was used toconduct the analysis. Furthermore, in the questionnaire participantswere given a number scale from 0-10, where 0 equated to negativetraits and 10 equated to positive traits. However, for threeattributes (`Sad`/`Threatening`/Conceited`) the ratings wereinverted, with 0 being positive and 10 being negative. This was toraise the attention of the participants and ensure that they werecarefully reading each criterion before selecting a number.


Figure 1. Meanand standard deviation (error bars) of the attractiveness andpersonal attributions scores for the 23 pictures.

Figureone demonstrates that the scores are from 5 and above.

  • Is there a Halo Effect?

PearsonCorrelation test

‘Attractiveness’correlates with:

  • ‘Intelligent’: r=.52 p=.00

  • ‘Warm’: r=.47 p=.00

  • ‘Assured’: r=.47 p=.00

  • ‘Ambitious’: r=.50 p=.00

  • ‘Sexy’: r=.72 p=.00

  • ‘Friendly’: r=.35 p=.00

  • ‘Not-conceited’: r=-.22 p=.00

  • ‘Competent’: r=.46 p=.00

  • ‘Active’: r=.51 p=.00

  • But does not correlate with ‘Happy’, ‘Not-threatening’, ‘Masculine’.


Thisstudy used Pearson correlation analysis method. Correlation is astatistical technique to review the strength of the relationshipbetween two variables. Correlation can be positive or negative, orthere might be absolutely no correlation between the variables. Ourresults reveal that `Attractiveness` positively correlates with`Intelligent` (r=.52 p=.00), `Warm` (r=.47 p=.00), `Assured` (r.=47p=.00), `Ambitious` (r=.50 p=.00), `Sexy` (r=.72 p=.00) `Friendly`(r=.35 p=.00), `Competent` (r=.46 p=.00) `Active`(r=.51 p=.00), whichshows that the higher a participant scored an image on the‘Attractiveness’ scale, the more positively they scored them onthe attributes scale. The results also showed that there was anegative correlation between `Attractiveness` and being considered`Not-conceited` (r=-.22 p=.00), this shows that the more aparticipant found an image attractive, the less conceited the personin the image was considered to be. However, the results reveal norelationship between `Attractiveness` and traits such as `Happy,“Not-threating` or `Masculine.`


Thefindings do show that ‘Attractiveness’ correlates with positivelywith ‘Intelligent’, ‘Warm’, ‘Assured’, ‘Ambitious’,‘Sexy’, ‘Friendly’, ‘Competent’ and ‘Active.’ It was,however, negatively correlated to ‘Not-conceited.’ All of theseattributes are positive and it, therefore, indicates that people whoare physically attractive are bound to obtain a high level ofpositive perception from others. They do have an r ranging between0.22 and 0.72. As for the case of intelligence, the findings bearingan r of 0.52 show that about 52 % of the perception that anindividual is intelligent could be as a result of the person beingphysically attractive. The same reasoning is also true to all theother attributes that seem to be brought out by attractiveness.

Thereis also a clear indication of lack of correlation between‘attractiveness’ and ‘Happy’, ‘Not-threatening’,‘Masculine’. This points out to the idea that just because aperson is physically attractive, people may not necessarily view suchan individual as being jovial, harmless or manlier. This comes fromthe general knowledge that people do have regarding beauty in thatthey do believe that the beauty of a person does not necessarily makethe person have a happy life. There have also been numerous caseswhere people who are perceived to be physically attractive harmingothers. They, as a result, fail to pass on the impression that theyare fully good. It is also true that physical attractiveness cutsacross the sex divide. Both men and women can be good-looking and it,as a result, has nothing to do with masculinity. There are also caseswhere some men are physically attractive but at the same time, theyfail to pass the masculine test.

Thefact that the Halo Effect has some influence upon some attributes butnot in others consistently goes a long way to explaining that itcannot be relied on fully. The lack of consistency of this effectbrings in the idea that the Halo Effect may not be powerful as such.In fact, recent studies have shown that the phenomenon about physicalattractiveness is quite limited and may have been overrated afterall. This is despite the fact that the correlation between‘attractiveness’ and ‘sexiness’ was found to be a whopping72%.

Theawareness of the Halo Effect is a very important issue as far asbeing able to respond to it is concerned. The question that becomespersistent is whether people who are aware of the Halo Effect areless likely to be affected by it more than those who have never heardabout it. Verhulstet al. (2010) do argue that the Halo Effect normally has more or lessthe same result on people regardless of whether they have heard aboutit before or not. They are, however, quick to point out that the onlytime that knowledge about its existence would be meaningful to anindividual is where such a person would make a decisive action not totake physical attractiveness into consideration while engaging withanother person. Such cases are most of the times quite rare as peoplemay fail to be cautious all the time while they are dealing withother people.

Inrelation to the sexes, while both males and females are more likelyto identify with the sexiness of another female character, males arenot quite easily able to identify with the attractiveness of anothermale counterpart. In fact, the females respond quite quickly to theattractiveness of other females more than they would to that ofmales(Lucker et al., 1981). The argument behind this scenario couldbe that naturally, females are normally beauty conscious and willeasily look at other females so as to identify whether they fit inthe beauty cadre that they have put themselves in. This kind ofinvoluntary competition among women for beauty is what will make themidentify easily another woman who is ‘sexy.’

Giventhe various facts that may establish from the Halo Effect, it isimperative to indicate that physical attractiveness will always be acommon feature that will determine the kind of perception that peoplewill have regarding others. This aspect could explain why a lot ofpeople take their time to groom themselves so that they may beappealing to others. Many people will always do such an exercisewhile not fully conscious of the kind of effect that it will make onother people. The existence of the Halo Effect has made other peopletake a full advantage of it in that they get out to modify theirbeauty in a way that it will bring out some desired outcome fromother people regarding how they will treat them in the long run.While it is true that such cases may not be as common, they do exist.More research needs to be carried out in this field so as toestablish the extent of this phenomenon as well as its limitation.This will be a great stride into exploring the subject.


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Eagly,A.H, Ashmore, R.D., Makhjijani, M.G., Longo, L.C. (1991). What isbeautiful is good, but…..: A Meta-Analytic Review of Reasearch onthe Physical Attractiveness Stereotype. 110 (1)

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Zebrowitz,L. A., &amp Franklin Jr, R. G. (2014). The attractiveness haloeffect and the baby face stereotype in older and younger adults:similarities, own-age accentuation, and older adult positivityeffects.&nbspExperimentalaging research,&nbsp40(3),375-393.