The Halo Effect Libguide Resources

The Halo Effect Libguide Resources

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Name: Katherine Rush

Email Address: Krush@mc.eduSubmitted: 1/31/2011

The Halo Effect Libguide Resources

The “halo effect” is a topic in social psychology which describes a systematic bias in the way we evaluate each other and other things. Precisely, it describes how we tend to judge the qualities of others based on the first qualities we observe, which often result into a misconceptions. This paper presents an annotated bibliography of libguide sources which in various ways discuss this topic.

Reference Materials

Kaplan, Martin F. “Context-Induced Shifts in Personality Trait Evaluation: A Comment on the Evaluative Halo Effect and Meaning Change Interpretations.” Psychological bulletin 81.11 (1974): 891-5. ProQuest. Web. 10 April. 2012 <>

This article explains that evaluative responses to personality traits or qualities of an object are affected by the particular context ascribed to the stimulus individual. The article review literature from various reliable resources that give concise coverage of this issue. The author finds that various sources indicate that halo effect has scientific basis while others claim that it is acquired through learning, from childhood. Others state that it is a product of both human nature and learning. The author however notes that all sources agree on the meaning and impact of halo effect.

Naquin, Charles E., and Renee O. Tynan. “The Team Halo Effect: Why Teams are Not Blamed for their Failures.” Journal of Applied Psychology 88.2 (2003): 332-40. ProQuest. 12 Apr. 2012

This article documents the existence of halo effect in groups and teams. The authors suggest that this phenomena is one if the causes of failure of individuals in teams in various aspects. The authors investigated this issue using controlled scenarios and real teams. Evidence was found that the nature of causal attribution processes used to diagnose failure in teams and groups make individuals in those teams to be identified as causes of failure than the group as a collective. Individuals labeled as causes of failure often lack confidence, making them to continue performing poorly in the teams. The authors suggest that these judgments are usually as a result of halo effect and not from conscious and fair evaluations.

Nisbett, Richard E., and Timothy D. Wilson. “The Halo Effect: Evidence for Unconscious Alteration of Judgments.” Journal of personality and social psychology 35.4 (1977): 250-6. ProQuest. Web. 10 April 2012


This journal seeks to demonstrate that global evaluations of person can induce altered evaluations even when there is enough information for assessors to make independent judgment. The journal presents two different interviews which were conducted with the same lecturer of a college. In one interview, the tutor was cold and distant and in the other, he was warm and friendly. These interviews, which were video-taped, were presented to 118 students and they were asked to evaluate the lecturer. Those who saw him cold and distant evaluating him as irritating while those who saw him warm and friendly evaluated him as appealing. Generally, the journal is relevant to the topic of study as it presents how different assessors may evaluate the same individual differently.

Sappenfield, Bert R. “Social Desirability, the Halo Effect, and Stereotypical Perception in Person Perception and Self-Perception.” Perceptual and motor skills 33.3 (1971): 683-9. ProQuest. Web. 12 Apr. 2012


This journal presents a study in which the author sought to test predictions of social desirability of individuals in community. To achieve this, the author used different groups of 57-129 undergraduates. The author found that stereotypical perception and halo effect influence perception of self and others within groups. Importantly, the author found that these factor influence social desirability of individuals within groups. I thus find the journal to be relevant to the current topic of study.

Van, den Bos. “On the Subjective Quality of Social Justice: The Role of Affect as Information in the Psychology of Justice Judgments.” Journal of personality and social psychology 85.3 (2003): 482-98. ProQuest. Web. 12 Apr. 2012


This article suggests that it is not uncommon for juries to forming justice judgments to lack vital information that is needed in a particular situation. Precisely, the article argues that when judges fail to find relevant information, they tend to construct justice judgments based on how they feel. In such situations, the judgments may be influenced by affect information. With information-uncertain conditions, judges are likely to become subjective and susceptible to affective states of the individuals present during cases. The article therefore suggests that judges should avoid possibilities of making less informed judgments at all costs.


Berkowitz, Leonard. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 7. Cheltenham : Academic Press, 1974

This book provides a review of various theories in social psychology and their practical implications. One of the theories discusses in the text is integration theory. The text examines the application of this theory in social attribution. In the course of this explanation, the text discusses how halo effect occurs. It illustrates how people make wrong judgements’ of individuals based on incomplete or wrong information. It is therefore a valuable book for the topic of study.

Breakwell, Glynis Marie et al. Doing Social Psychology: Laboratory and Field Exercises. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988

This book presents a collection of field and classroom-tested exercises. As well, it explores various problems and topics in social psychology. Among other topics, the book provides background information of how stereotyping and prejudices occurs. In chapter eight of the book, the authors describe a situation in which a speaker addressing huge audience showed confidence and spoke fast after he was described as being successful. When he was described as non-successful, the speaker addressed people with low tone and lacked standardization in his pronunciation. This book is thus important for the topic of study.

Cashmore, Ernest. Sport psychology: the key concepts. West Sussex: Routledge, 2002

This text is an introductory guide to the central theories and vocabularies related to sports. The book discusses the tendency by individuals to glorify a person on a single outstanding characteristic. The text explains that such judgment is usually misleading and is called halo effect.

DeLamater, John D. & Daniel J. Myers . Social Psychology. Washington DC: Cengage Learning, 2010

This is a social psychology book which covers numerous topics including socialization, attitudes, self, social influence, communication, behaviour in small groups, interpersonal attraction and relationships, personality, stereotypes and prejudices, social structure and life course. The issue of halo effect is discussed under the topic of stereotypes and prejudices. The authors note that people tend to judge individual’s overall character based on his/her one observed trait and what they associate that trait with. The authors note that for instance, Africans are judged differently from Americans based on association. People hardly examine overall traits of an individual.

Dunn, Dana S. Research methods for social psychology. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2008

This text provides guidance to students of social psychology on how to develop research topics and offers advices on how ethic reviews of research projects are conducted. It also provides instructions on how to design dependent and independent variables. Importantly, the book provides useful information on how to avoid making misleading judgments during researches. In short, it teaches readers to think experimentally. Therefore, it is a relevant source for the topic of study.

Fiske, Susan T. Daniel T. Gilbert, Gardner Lindzey, Handbook of Social Psychology, Volume 2, London: John Wiley & Sons, 2010

This book covers various topics in social psychology related to mind perception, morality, social neuroscience and social stratification. It also discusses various aspects of interpersonal and intergroup relations. One of these aspects is the bias that exists when people make judgment about others and objects. The authors note that halo effect usually has a compensation effect. An individual who is rated high because of one particular trait is usually rated low in other situations because of a different low quality trait. This book is therefore vital for the study.

Harris, Lori A. CliffsAP Psychology. London: John Wiley & Sons, 2005

This is a book for students and it provides answers to most of the questions that social psychology students encounter in exams. The book explains that halo effect occurs when one focuses on a single quality and uses it as the basis of evaluation. The evaluator then concludes that the subject of evaluation possesses only qualities similar to the one examined. The authors of the book note that everyone is prone to make halo error depending on how we are socialized. In general, the book offers a clear understanding of how halo effect takes place.

Higgins, Edward Tory. Social Psychology: A General Reader. Geneva: Psychology Press, 2003

This book evaluates the way in which social phenomena can be analyzed, starting with the biological level and then moving on to the personal/motivational, cognitive, group, interpersonal, and cultural level of analysis. It provides a vital contribution into how stereotype and prejudices are generated within societies. The author noted that hallo effect may be dependent on the character of the stimuli or the evaluator. When the evaluator is hostile, he or she is likely to judge another person in a hash manner, without relying on full information. When the evaluator is cool, he or she is likely to evaluate the subject more positively and evaluate the traits of the subject more closely. It is therefore a vital source for the toic of study.

Husain, Akbar. Social Psychology. New Delhi: Pearson Education India, 2011

This source analyses the major aspects of human interaction discussed in social psychology. The book discloses that there is tendency by individuals to believe that if a person displays one positive quality, he/she must have other specific positive qualities similar to the first set. The author argues that the evaluations made for the first time are likely to persist even when later information begins to contradict it. The author also suggests that people usually re-interpret the incoming information in light of the initial impression. In short, the text book discusses the topic of halo effect in detail, among other topics.

Kassin, Saul., Steven Fein & Hazel Rose Markus. Social Psychology. New York: Cengage Learning, 2010

This book integrates contemporary and classic research on various issues in social physiology. It includes comprehensive coverage of evolutionary psychology and social recognition. The text also covers culture and diversity as well as the extent of halo effect in various societies. The authors posit that a supervisor who believe that a worker is unproductive is likely to rate the worker negatively on creativity, independence and teamwork. They also suggest that halo effect occur when the evaluator has no full knowledge of the subject and also when time delay has caused the memory of evaluator to fade.

Lewis-Beck, Michael S., Alan Bryman & Tim Futing Liao. The Sage encyclopedia of social science research methods, Volume 1. California: SAGE, 2004

This book features major topics in social sciences and provides definitions, quick explanations and implications of the topics. Chapter six of the book discusses the concept of halo effect. According to the authors, the judgement bias influenced by a single trait is based in the theory of central traits. The book illustrates the issue with a man who was judged more positively on many aspects after he was introduced as a friendly man. The same individual was introduced was described as cold to other individuals and as a result, they evaluated him negatively on many aspects.

Thibaut, John W. & Harold H. Kelley. The Social Psychology of Groups. Washington DC: Transaction Publishers, 1956

This book discusses the behaviours of individuals while in groups. It explains how some items of information are given more weight when judging an individual than others. The authors argue that the core around which an individual’s view of another person is organized need not be the earlier information received. They posit that some information on an individual’s traits has powerful organized impact when it is received by the evaluator. When such information is received, it makes the evaluator to make inferences on the broad variety of traits of the subject of evaluation. In short, the book has detailed content on the concept of halo effect.

Walton, Douglas N. Appeal to expert opinion: arguments from authority. Cheltenham: Penn State Press, 1997

This book provides a method for evaluating and analyzing appeal to the opinions of experts in everyday argumentation. It covers how various domains of knowledge such as medicine, science, law, and government policy influence the rational decisions that individuals make daily. The book also analyses how these domains of knowledge impact on stereotyping, prejudice and halo effect in our societies. The author argues that the basis of halo effect in human beings is not natural, but it results from social constructs. He therefore notes that halo effect is present in every society.

Academic Journal articles

Dennis, Ian. “Halo Effects in Grading Student Projects.” Journal of Applied Psychology. 92.4 (2007): 1169-76. ProQuest. Web. 10 April 2012


This article presents the findings of a study conducted by the author which sought to determine the presence of halo effect in educational grading. The author analyzed grades awarded by two graders with a correlated uniqueness model. The author found that there was substantial halo in grading despite the fact that the grades were awarded by expert assessors. A greater halo was recognized in grades awarded in the same section of the projects examined than in different sections. Generally, halo effect was evident in the study, though the author clarified that the results may not be attributable to a unitary general impression.

Freijo, Tom D., and Richard M. Jaeger. “Social Class and Race as Concomitants of Composite Halo in Teachers Evaluative Rating of Pupils.” American Educational Research Journal 13.1 (1976): 1-14. ProQuest. Web. 12 Apr. 2012 <>

This journal presents a study that tested teachers’ ratings of students based on the student’s social economic. The researchers also investigated the impact of race on the teachers’ ratings of the students. They investigated more than 8,000 students on 21 related behavior changes. The study found that the teachers’ ratings of students of high social-economic status exhibited less composite error compared to their ratings of students of low socio-economic status. In addition, the study found that socio-economic status of students impacted more on the teachers’ ratings that race. In view of this, the source is also useful for the topic of study.

Forgas, Joseph P. 2011. She just doesn’t look like a philosopher…? Affective influences on the halo effect in impression formation. European Journal of Social Psychology, 41.7. (2011): 812-817. ProQuest. Web. 10 April 2012


This journal examines whether personal mood can influence tendency to rely on irrelevant and unreliable information when forming impressions about others. The authors investigated this issue on 246 participants. They were asked to read a philosophy essay with an image of the writer attached, showing either a young man or an old man. Judgements of the essay and the writer by the participants revealed clear mood and halo effects. Significantly, the participants showed different moods by halo interaction depending on the picture of the writer that was displayed. Generally, the findings showed that good mood increased positive evaluations while bad mood increased negative evaluations.

Johnson, Donald M. “Reanalysis of Experimental Halo Effects.” Journal of Applied Psychology 47.1 (1963): 46-7. ProQuest. Web. 12 Apr. 2012

This journal presented data ratings of individual’s judgments of specific selected persons, obtained under different conditions. The data corrected from different locations and in different situations was then analyzed for variance. The author found low level of correlation in the judgments made by the different people in different places. The implication of this study was that halo effects differ among different people and in different social situations. It was also evident that there was high correlation on the data collected from individuals from the same social and cultural background.

Kaplan, Robert M. “Is Beauty Talent? Sex Interaction in the Attractiveness Halo Effect.” Sex Roles 4.2 (1978): 195-204. Sociological Abstracts. 12 Apr. 2012


An accumulation of research results indicates that physically attractive people have competitive advantages over others. In one experiment, 70 male & 70 female college students gave impressions of an essay & its author, based on an essay which was the same in all cases & a photograph of an attractive or unattractive woman said to be author. While male judges showed significantly more favorable ratings of attractive authors, female judges showed little difference. In a second experiment, 60 male & 60 female college students performed a similar task with a male rather than female supposed author. No significant effects of attractiveness were found. The overall results suggest that the attractiveness halo effect applies only when men are rating the low quality work of women

Kozlowski, Steve W., Michael P. Kirsch, and Georgia T. Chao. “Job Knowledge, Ratee Familiarity, Conceptual Similarity and Halo Error: An Exploration.” Journal of Applied Psychology 71.1 (1986): 45-9. ProQuest. Web.12 Apr. 2012


This journal suggests that an assessor’s implicit cognitive schemata regarding behavior of another person play a vital role in rating judgment process. The authors suggest that such cognitive schemata regarding trait and behavior is a key source of halo error in job recruitments and performance ratings. The authors carried out studies on managers in different organizations to investigate this matter. The findings were consistent to the above expectations. The halo error was higher was more prevalent when managers lacked full knowledge of workers, especially on new workers.

Lance, Charles E., Julie A. LaPointe, and Amy M. Stewart. “A Test of the Context Dependency of Three Causal Models of Halo Rater Error.” Journal of Applied Psychology. 79.3 (1994): 332-40. ProQuest. Web.12 Apr. 2012


The authors of this journal tested three different causal models of halo error; salient dimension, inadequate discrimination and general impression. The authors found that general impression model had a greater impact on halo rating error compared to the other tow models. The authors also found that the type of halo error observed may sometimes vary as a function of rating context. They found that manipulating rating contexts may led to different halo error ratings for the same subjects. However, general impression halo error was typically more prevalent than the other two errors.

Murphy, Kevin R., and Douglas H. Reynolds. “Does True Halo Affect Observed Halo?” Journal of Applied Psychology 73.2 (1988): 235-8. ProQuest. Web.12 Apr. 2012

This journal presents a study which examines whether true halo affects observed halo. The participants of the study viewed videotapes that varied widely in true halo and rated them under delayed or intermediate rating conditions. The authors found that true halo has impact on observed halo, though the impact is relatively small. Precisely, they found that to produce reliable differences inn observable halo effect there extreme differences in true halo were necessary. Generally, the source demonstrates that halo effects occur only when true inter-correlations among ratings are small.

Murphy, Kevin R., and Rebecca L. Anhalt. “Is Halo Error a Property of the Rater, Ratees, Or the Specific Behaviors Observed?” Journal of Applied Psychology 77.4 (1992): 494-500. ProQuest. 12 Apr. 2012


This journal presents a study that investigated the stability of halo errors depending variability of the behaviors of subjects. The study used students as evaluators and teachers as the subjects of evaluations. It was found that halo errors were highly unstable when the behaviors of the subject of evaluation varied more. On the other hand, halo errors were more constant when the behaviors of subjects of evaluation varied less. The authors also found that the halo errors varied in different situations. This source is thus relevant for the topic of study.

Murphy, Kevin R., Robert A. Jako, and Rebecca L. Anhalt. “Nature and Consequences of Halo Error: A Critical Analysis.” Journal of Applied Psychology 78.2 (1993): 218-25. ProQuest. 12 Apr. 2012

This journal examines the various definitions of the concept of ‘halo effect’ advanced by various scholars. It also examines the various dimensions and stances of different authors on the issues. The authors critically review vast literature discussing the concept of ‘halo effect and note that researchers fail to distinguish between apparent halo effect and the actual halo errors. From their perception, the major elements evident in vast literature on the issue are either wrong or problematic. Generally, this source provides various perceptions of the concept of halo effect and thus, t is relevant for the current study.

Ng, Kok-Yee, et al. “Rating Leniency and Halo in Multisource Feedback Ratings: Testing Cultural Assumptions of Power Distance and Individualism-Collectivism.” Journal of Applied Psychology. 96.5 (2011): 1033-44. ProQuest. Web.10 Apr. 2012


This source assesses the effects of evaluator’s social background on rating bias. The authors use motivational perspective of performance appraisal to achieve this objective. From their findings, they suggest that subordinate raters exhibit more rating bias than their superiors. They found that rating bias did not significantly differ between subordinates and their peers. Therefore, this source is useful in evaluating the impact of assessor’s social background on halo effect.

Oldehinkel, Albertine J., et al. “Being Admired Or being Liked: Classroom Social Status and Depressive Problems in Early Adolescent Girls and Boys.” Journal of abnormal child psychology 35.3 (2007): 417-27. ProQuest. Web. 12 Apr. 2012

This journal presents a study which investigated the associations between classroom social status and depressive problems in Dutch adolescents. Classroom status was assessed by peer nominations with respect to affection related and achievement related areas. On the other hand, depressive problems were assessed by parents and self reports. It was found that in boys, depressive problems were often associated with evaluations of not being good at sports. In girls, depressive problems were associated with not being liked. In both cases, the perceptions were as a result of evaluation by others, which was full of wrong judgments. Thus, halo effect was evident in the study.

Wade, T. J., and Cristina DiMaria. “Weight Halo Effects: Individual Differences in Perceived Life Success as a Function of Womens Race and Weight.” Sex Roles 48.9 (2003): 461-488. ProQuest. Web. 12 Apr. 2012


This journal presents a study in which the authors investigated how ‘halo effect’ impacted on the weight for black and white women in United States. The authors used measures of attractiveness, personality and perceived life successes. This study found that thinner white women were expected to receive higher personality ratings, attractiveness and life successes. On the contrary, the heavy black women received higher ratings than thinner women. In the study, it was found that these perceptions were often based on halo effect and the judgments were not always right.

Wyer, Robert S. “Changes in Meaning and Halo Effects in Personality Impression Formation.” Journal of personality and social psychology 29.6 (1974): 829-35. ProQuest. Web.12 Apr. 2012


The author of this journal investigated reasons why evaluations of individual adjective increase with favorableness of the adjectives that go along with it. The author conducted this study on 137 undergraduate students from the same university. The author found that halo error increased with ambiguity of the subject of evaluation. Importantly, the author realized that evaluations of individual adjective were correlated with actual evaluations in the contexts of study. To be more precise, the author found that students rated the subjects of evaluations based on how these subjects are evaluated by others in the same context and rarely applied independent judgment.

Newspapers, Magazines and periodicals

Chernikoff, Helen. Management bibles are not gospel. Reuters. 9 Jun. 2007. Web. 10 April 2012. <>

This paper describes the book “he Halo Effect” written by Phil Rosenzweig. The author of the paper noted that this book, among others changed the traditional perceptions of managers on the sources of organization’s strong performance. As a result, rather than focusing on traditional strategies, business ate often using the idea of halo effect to attract customers. All strategies used today focus on increasing attractiveness of a particular product or service or using advertisements which will draw consumers to purchase the rest of an organization’s sales or products. In general, this paper has useful information needed for the topic of study.

Miller, Steve. “Interview with Phil Rosenzweig, Author of The Halo Effect”. Business Intelligence Network Newsletter. 31 July. 2007. Web. 10 April 2012.


This source presents an interview conducted by Steve Miller, an author of the Business Intelligence Network Newsletter with Phil Rosenzweig, the Author of The Halo Effect. Rosenzweig in the interview describes halo effect as a flawed psychological disposition which leads individuals to evaluate others in all dimensions based on a single dimension. Rosenzweig states that halo effect is used by business as a magic formula to increase sales. According to Rosenzweig, halo effect debunks the prescriptions that are advanced by scholars and authors for rigorous approaches for evaluating individuals, businesses or organizations. Therefore, The interview has important content for the topic of study.

Rosenzweig, Phil. “The halo effect, and other managerial delusions”. McKinsey Quarterly. February 2007. Web. 10 April 2012.


In this periodical, the author asserts that the quest of any company to find keys to superior performance. Managers are therefore under pressure to steer organizations to achieve superior performance. Furthermore in public-listed organizations, executives are under more pressure to deliver high quality returns to shareholders. Therefore, managers are continuously trying to recruit personnel in the optimal way possible. However, Rosenzweig notes that the specific and ridged steps followed during recruitment do not always abide to optimality. Rather, recruiters often fail to gather enough information on all candidates and sometimes, they are attracted by just few qualities. they end up leaving the more qualified candidates. In short, the author notes that halo effect must be completely absent for recruitment process to be optimal.

Teach, Edward (January 2007). “Blinded by the light: How the ‘halo effect’ distorts our view of company performance.” CFO Magazine. January 2007. Web. 10 April 2012. <>

This magazine describes how cognitive bias occurs as individuals make judgements on the traits of others. The magazine notes that ob seekers with top-notch schools on their resumes tend to shine more during interviews. Also, auto dealers tend to place the most attractive cars in display to lure consumers who often believe that all of their products are like that. The magazine also describes how analysts hailed Apple Company’s iPods, which helped to draw customers to purchase other products of the company. Generally, the magazine describes how halo effect takes place in various settings in life.

“The Peril of the Halo.” Saturday review of politics, literature, science and art 128.3325 (1919): 56-7. British Periodicals. 12 Apr. 2012 Web. 10 April 2012.