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13 Examples of the Halo Effect

The halo effect is the invalid assumption that one positive characteristic implies another positive characteristic. The following are illustrative examples.


The halo effect is essentially a heuristic or mental shortcut that assumes that if someone is good at one thing, they are good at something else. For example, a teacher who assumes that a student who is unusually well behaved is also unusually intelligent.

Naive Realism

Naive realism is the tendency to believe that reality can be directly understood with the senses such as vision. For example, the assumption that a good looking person also has a good moral character.

Reverse Halo Effect

The reverse halo effect is the invalid assumption that a positive characteristic implies some negative characteristic. For example, the assumption that a good looking person is shallow, unintelligent and has a strong sense of entitlement.

Horn Effect

The invalid assumption that one negative trait implies another negative trait. For example, a teacher who incorrectly believes that a student who causes disruption in class is generally unintelligent.

Patriotic Bias

A tendency for love for one's country to cloud judgement. For example, German consumers who automatically feel that all German products are superior. This reduces incentives to improve or maintain quality.

Legacy Bias

The belief that past accomplishments automatically mean that current performance will be high. For example, an international organization that can't recognize its current failures due to its past successes.

Corporate Narcissism

A tendency for organizations with high social status to suffer from narcissism whereby they underestimate competition, customers and risk and overestimate themselves.

Affect Heuristic

Using emotion as a tool of judgement. For example, viewing the performance of someone you personally like in a positive light.

First Impression

A tendency to make a large number of assumptions based on your first impression of someone or something. For example, assuming that someone who is pleasant when you meet them must be talented in many ways.

Brand Recognition

Brand recognition is the ability of a consumer to visually recognize a brand. There is a well established tendency for consumers to buy brands they recognize, even if they have no information whatsoever other than visual recognition.

Brand Image

Brand image is a consumer's ideas and emotions about a brand. This is commonly transferred from one product category to another. For example, the invalid assumption that a brand that produces a high quality camera must also produce a high quality solar panel.

Illusory Superiority

An individual who incorrectly believes they are superior to others in areas where they aren't particularly impressive. This can be based on a halo bias and cherry picking. For example, a professor of chemistry who believes they are a good driver based on their academic successes when in fact they are poor driver.


The halo effect is commonly systematized into policy, processes, procedures and algorithms. For example, a firm that only hires employees with a high credit rating based on the assumption that this necessarily maps to higher work performance.


The halo effect is an analogy to someone being viewed as an angel who can do no wrong.
Overview: Halo Effect
The invalid assumption that one positive characteristic implies another positive characteristic.
Related Concepts

Cognitive Biases

This is the complete list of articles we have written about cognitive biases.
Ambiguity Effect
Backfire Effect
Base Rate
Circular Reasoning
Cognitive Bias
Cognitive Dissonance
Complexity Bias
Crab Mentality
Creeping Normality
Curse Of Knowledge
Decoy Effect
Exposure Effect
False Analogy
False Hope
Fear Of Youth
Gambler's Fallacy
Golden Hammer
Halo Effect
Hindsight Bias
Negativity Bias
Optimism Bias
Peak-End Rule
Positive Bias
Sour Grapes
Survivorship Bias
Us vs Them
Victim Mentality
Wishful Thinking
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Cognitive Biases

A list of common cognitive biases explained.

Crab Mentality

The definition of crab mentality with examples.

Character Weaknesses

A list of common character weaknesses.

Confirmation Bias

The definition of confirmation bias with examples.


The definition of pathologizing with examples.


A list of common types of denial with examples.

Polite Fiction

The definition of polite fiction with examples.

False Hope

The definition of false hope with examples.


The definition of salience with examples.


A list of logical fallacies.

Slippery Slope

The definition of slippery slope with examples.

Weasel Words

The definition of weasel word with examples.

Straw Man

The definition of straw man with examples.

Cherry Picking

The definition of cherry picking with examples.

Argument From Ignorance

The definition of argument from ignorance with examples.

Nirvana Fallacy

The definition of nirvana fallacy with examples.


The definition of gaslighting with examples.
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