Why do folks gush over certain people…like saying…what an attractive, sweet nice, smart person… when they’re literally a stranger? Folks tend to view others with the Halo Effect … a behavior where we allow one characteristic to outshine others and bias our overall perception without feeling danger. In contrast, the devil effect, also known as the reverse halo effect is when we allow an undesirable trait… to skew our view of another into a negative… we create.
We like to place all our “like” and “dislike eggs” …into a halo effect or reverse halo effect basket. Respectfully, the halo effect becomes even more noticeable when folks pass away and viewed in a casket. While it’s not uncommon to talk about folks negatively while they’re living… it’s rare, unless we’re speaking about sociopaths, to discuss the deceased in a way that’s unkind and chilling.
With the halo effect we commonly associate “folks in shape” with intelligence, leadership, character, and trust. Our perception of “attractiveness” greatly influences the extent to which we see the halo effect as being right and just. We frequently perceive attractive individuals in happier marriages, as better parents, and having wider opportunities leading to greater career success. So our view of attractiveness is a strong predictor of how we decide who deserves praise…and who should progress.
Political candidates that appear more attractive and familiar to us are seen as knowledgeable and skilled. Even our judicial system is more lenient in sentencing attractive individuals over unattractive ones… despite the similarity of crimes for which they’re being grilled.
When it comes to the halo effect… perception of an individual’s attractiveness is no trick or HOAX… it’s a Funny Feeling to know the strength of a simple attraction is strongly tied to the warm and fuzzy qualities and values we reflexively attribute to good-looking FOLKS…
Copyright 2018 Alan P. Xenakis, MD, Doc X MD and Audra RN Funny Feelings