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Halo Effect

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

The halo effect refers to an error in reasoning where an impression formed due to a single trait is allowed to influence multiple judgments or ratings of unrelated factors. For instance, the halo effect operates when a rater forms a general impression of another person, based on one outstanding trait, and that general impression is allowed to influence judgments or ratings that should instead be based on specific aspects of the person. For example, people who are attractive may also be judged to be good workers without regard to their actual work performance; the positive impression of their attractiveness clouds the rater's ability to judge the actual quality of their work, although these two traits are not related. These overall impressions misrepresent the specific traits ...

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