Halo Effect

Humans are fascinating. One of our quirks, whether we do so knowingly or not, is having an inclination to assign individuals a generalized label of being either wholly good or wholly bad —simply after a few encounters.

Example: Girl after a first date, “We talked for hours; our chemistry was so good! He’s absolutely perfect!”

Logically, we understand no individual is completely good or bad  – yet we have a tendency to over exaggerate observed characteristic attributes. The truth is: We like to make generalizations. Every activity is mentally taxing- and short cuts that provide us with a little more cognitive ease are warmly welcomed.

Funnily enough, the human tendency to like or dislike everything about a person – including the things that were not observed – has a name; it’s called the Halo Effect.*

Now, I want you to understand the power of this effect because it is an  extremely common bias that plays a large role in shaping our view of people and situations.*

We’ve all heard the saying: put your best foot forward. Ever wonder the reason why? Because sequence matters. The Halo Effect increases the weight of first impressions.* So I guess- when meeting someone for the first time, do continue to put your best foot forward, but be smart enough to realize if you can play them – then they too can play you.


My inspiration to synthesize this piece came from my reading of Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow and my experience with life.

*Quote from Page 82

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