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Halo Effect

  • By: Billy L. Smith
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

A halo effect often refers to the tendency to let one characteristic of an individual positively influence the appraisal of other characteristics. For example, individuals often assume that attractive people are more intelligent or that muscular men are aggressive. In both of these examples, we allow one characteristic to positively influence our assessment of other characteristics (intelligence and aggression). The tendency for school staff or students to have a halo bias in rating is of particular concern in school psychology. School officials (teachers, administrators, school psychologists) can develop a positive feeling about a student, a class, or a group of students that may influence how they rate (on a rating scale) or interact with the person. For example, a teacher who feels that students who ...

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