The Halo Effect

Psychology

When we’re kids, we learn that what’s beautiful is good and what’s ugly is bad. Cinderella, Prince Charming, Beauty and the Beast teach us that physical appearance and being kind/compassionate/smart go hand in hand. Every day we make judgments on other people based on looks, and vice versa. First impressions affect how we view the other person, especially knowing how humans are creatures of habit- we don’t enjoy being wrong. If my first impression of you is that you’re cool, I’ll subconsciously look for positive cues to prove my theory and dismiss the ones that tell me you’re a jerk. But I digress…

The halo effect is the tendency to make general assumptions about people based on appearance traits. Said in a slightly freaky way, I assume you’re friendly because of your face.

On average, we live for 78.3 years, most of us remember people after the age of 5 and communicate with 3 new people every day. So all those years (leap years included. Pet peeve of mine, when people completely dismiss the existence of leap years. They never did anything wrong for you to treat them like that!!!) and all those people, would equal 80000 people, enough to entirely fill the London Olympics stadium. Could I’ve found a more contemporary comparison, yes, would it make that much of a difference, no.

Also, did you know that the human brain is incapable of creating new faces, so that stunning girl in your dream last night? You didn’t make her up, you saw her somewhere, hopefully, at your favorite bar, realistically, on Instagram.

Shout out to Thorndike btw, who published A Constant Error in Psychological Ratings and was the one who discovered that a negative perception of ONE trait usually took ALL the others down with it.

So I showed people 4 photos, of two men and two women, where a couple was considered attractive and the other one wasn’t, at all.

I KNOW BEAUTY IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT, BUT RESEARCH HAS TO BE DONE, OKAY? *insert iconic tweet*

I won’t include the photos cuz that’s how I roll. 50 people had to rate them from 1 to 5 for their intelligence, kindness, honesty, and success.

And I mean, it makes sense ~cognitively~, it’s cost-effective time wise. You have the luxury to “know” the other person based on a simple overview and comparison to other people you know that look like them.

Well, the results are in. Apparently, the handsome guy was deemed the most trustworthy, then the other guy, then the chicas *cough fuck that shit cough*. The most intelligent were the not-so-handsome guy, the pretty girl, not-so-handsome guy and the not-so-pretty girl.

The most sincere? The pretty girl, then the not-so-handsome guy, handsome guy, and not-so-pretty girl. The pretty girl was also thought of as the most successful, again the not-so-pretty girl at the other side of the spectrum portrayed as the least successful. Same with self-confidence, where the pretty girl was the most self-confident one and not-so-pretty girl as the least confident.

Pretty when you cry. JK I never found out what that means, but I mean, these flowers are dying and they’re just standing here, oblivious, shining, LIVING.

As you might’ve already guessed, it’s worse for women. I mean, imagine, the pretty girl and the not-so-handsome guy have the same mode. However, the pretty girl took home 2 out of 5 positive qualities, and no one rated her as unintelligent so that’s cool.

By the way, I researched this with three other people and there’s even a cute/awkward video to prove it. Those were the days…when I actually emailed the study to the professor with a smiley face as the subject line and said, and I quote, GIRLS FTW, in the conclusions and I still got a perfect score #unreal

But yeah, the not-so-attractive group was thought of as less successful, less kind, less trustworthy, less this, less that.

What can you do? Realize the payoff that comes with being attractive. Stop judging people on looks. If you’re on the not-so group, remember, those that mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind mic drop

Thank you for reading.

 

References

Asch, S. E. (1946) Forming impressions of personality, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 41, 258-290

Atkinson, C. The link between physical attractiveness and likeability.

Bargh, J. A., and Pietromonaco, P. (1982). Automatic information processing and social perception: the influence of trait information presented outside of conscious awareness on impression formation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 437–449

Goldman, William, and Philip Lewis. Beautiful is good: Evidence that the physically attractive are more socially skillful." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 13.2 (1977): 125-130.

Grcic, J. (2008). The halo effect fallacy. Electronic Journal for Philosophy, 2008, 1-6. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 35(4), Apr 1977, 250-256.

Regan, D. T. (1971). Effects of a favor and liking on compliance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 7,627-639.

Rosenzweig, P. (2007). The halo effect, and other managerial delusions. McKinsey Quarterly, 1, 76.

Rosenzweig, P. (2014). The halo effect:… and the eight other business delusions that deceive managers. Simon and Schuster. The halo effect: Evidence for unconscious alteration of judgments.

Thorndike, E. L. (1920). A constant error in psychological ratings. Journal of applied psychology, 4(1), 25-29.

Thorndike, E. L. (1920). A constant error in psychological ratings. Journal of Applied Psychology, 4, 469-477.

Timothy Coombs, W., & Holladay, S. J. (2006). Unpacking the halo effect: reputation and crisis management. Journal of Communication Management, 10(2), 123-137.

Toi, M. and Batson, C. D. (1972). More evidence that empathy is a source of altruistic motivation, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 281-292.

Udry, J. Richard, and Bruce K. Eckland. Benefits of being attractive: Differential payoffs for men and women. Psychological Reports 54.1 (1984): 47-56.

The only thing more powerful than a self confident woman

Feminism

A long time ago, in far far away land, there was a princess. The princess tried to distance herself from other princesses. She did so because society brought girls down, thus she equated being a woman with being unworthy or not-as-worthy as the male counterpart. She quickly learned that things and activities that were deemed girly weren’t as worthy. A girl would be congratulated and frowned upon for the same thing, in the same day! What’s a princess to do?!

The princess didn’t live in a castle without a wifi connection or a library nearby. The princess quickly learned about internalized misogyny.

I’m the princess. I educated myself and now I love my fellow princesses queens!

This week I hung out with a few of them:

V, who has such a stressful job, but makes it work LIKE A BOSS. She’s so strong and I’m proud of her!

N, who has now quit smoking for more than 3 weeks now!!! This is the longest she’s ever gone since she started years ago and I’m SOOO proud of her.

S, this kick-ass, gorgeous, funny as hell, princess I’ve been friends for years now. She’s finally realizing her worth and that she deserves ONLY the absolute fucking best. I love her and I’m so proud of her!

A, bureaucratic shit can really get to you. Especially when it will affect your education, combined with people that are so inexplicably, unnecessarily mean and rude- while being miles away from friends and family. Despite it all, she’s handling it so well and I’m so proud of her.

G, who is the first Albanian vegan I met and is doing her best to save animals and spread the word for a compassionate lifestyle. I’m so proud of her! Also, the night I met her, I’m 80% sure my cat had peed in my shirt AND she said nothing about it, I mean….

GIRL ALMIGHTY!

Thanks for reading.

Coffee Shop Thoughts 3: Animals and Heartbreak

Animals

tw: animal abuse, animal cruelty

On my way here, a little girl begging on the street grabbed my hand and wouldn't let go. With her tiny hand in mine, I went with my usual phrase when people in the street ask me for things, "I'm sorry, but I can't". Being the actual child that she is, she childishly says she isn't going anywhere until I give her something. I tell her she can tag along, but I'm sorry and can't do that.

Her equally young brother is waiting for her to come back from this hopefully-fruitful hand-holding session.

We lock eyes after a second, then she angrily lets go of my hand in a gesture of anger and disappointment. I think of how the logical thing to do is thoroughly wash my hands when I get to my destination. But why?! Research shows a lot of people don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom, masturbating, changing diapers, and this is only the tip of this iceberg that I'm not surprised by. I'm not the most hygienic person in the world myself, as I figure (and research proves) a lot of other people aren't as well. So who cares?

Almost immediately I think of all the times people have had a problem with me touching or cuddling stray animals. For years now, people have ~been so kind to~ let me know all the diseases and infections I'm now prone to because I wanted to pet that dog. That's what you get for not being able to resist the cuteness. Looking into that cute dog's eyes though, makes my heart break into a thousand pieces and that's why, for me, it stopped being a matter of cuteness a long time ago. 

 

It all started when I was a child. My grandparents had this big house and an even bigger garden where all kinds of animals lived, some of which I don't even the exact name for in English. Yeah, that diverse.

We had names for most of the chickens and each of them had its own distinct features and personality. This particular day, it was the first time my uncle came back from Greece since he'd left many years ago, and the first time I met his new family: his wife and son. Unrelated, but, my cousin and I spoke different languages and were too young to speak English, however, I swear we understood each other completely. Like, freakishly so. In Albanian, we call that the language of blood, ain't it amazing what our brains can accomplish?! Now that we both speak English and the internet exists, we hardly ever talk, lol, but anyway...

Anyway, my cousin and I were hanging out and my grandmother comes and says we should stay put for a while and NOT go to the other side of the house. Being the curious, rebellious child that I was, I said fuck that (basically, placebo is inert, meaning it's not supposed to do anything, but placebo is a rebel and breaks the rules) and went over there.

I saw my grandfather kill with his bare hands (and probably a knife) one of my favorite chickens. I burst out crying and tried to stop him, but my grandmother took me out of there and gave me this BS explanation of what was happening. I've talked with a lot of people who had a similar experience growing up, maybe not the actual slaughter, but you know, "losing" animals they'd grown to see as friends and part of the household, even if they'd only stayed with them for a few days.

Now, for as long as I can remember, I'm affected deeply by animals. I might see a stray dog, in a safe place, and just looking at him smiling (smiling dogs are a thing and you know it, don't @ me) /waiting for someone to play with him /show him even the tiniest bit of attention, and I get goosebumps, a bump in my throat, shivers... I've gotten pretty good at not having an emotional reaction every time, or even most times, but injustice gets me to my fucking core.

Why are some animals in loving homes, being bought for hundreds of dollars, getting toys while others are ran over in highways, left there, kicked, and a lot of other cruel things that I won't go over because a.) everyone knows b.) I'm in a coffee shop and I don't want people asking why I'm crying in the club right now, okay?!

Why are there big corporations protected by state laws making plenty of $$$ in the most disgusting of ways, but this old lady near my place, coming from miles away to sell her fucking produce in the city and make just a few dollars a day, is surrounded by ~7 cops and required to pay huge fees and move the fuck out of there?

I know, I know, I'm just describing...life, but -speaking from a place of privilege- I love life, I love the people and the places and the possibilities that life has to offer. Just realized; I didn't come here to write about police brutality, so I won't get into that (just now), but about animals and the shit they go through, unfortunately, figuratively and literally*.

Also, in the country I grew up in, you almost never come across LGBTQ/POC issues, or even members of those groups. There are only a few publicly known trans people, who work as prostitutes and are harassed, and the occasional coming out story, whereas the only POC you meet are Roma people, who are usually asking for money, so yeah.

Maybe, that's why, growing up, animal cruelty was the thing that most got to me, that, and because, they're voiceless. Actually, a lot of animal rights advocates consider themselves a voice for the voiceless.  As women, we might be silenced for speaking up, but at least we can do that; animals can't defend or speak for themselves.

Trackback: Best Speech You'll Ever Hear

All they can do is love us unconditionally, as they already do, and just hope for the best: that we don't hurt them, kick them, poke their eyes out, bury them in the ground alive**...but instead love them back.

My heart breaks and breaks having to write this, and I haven't even said anything about the animals killed for food and what they have to go through.

To end on a more positive note, I've cuddled all the stray animals and touched all the people and nothing has EVER happened to me (lol), Germany banned fur farming, a lot of makeup companies are going cruelty-free, the demand for meat and meat products has decreased dramatically in developed countries, demand for plant-based products has risen and they're everywhere now (and very delicious too). This is happening because of the people, the ones that have gotten their facts right and chose to DO SOMETHING! Be it Meatless Mondays, cruelty-free makeup products, only getting faux-fur, not throwing rocks at cats minding their business...

Every little helps. Animals all over the world thank you.
*Not to get into details, but a lot of animals live in such tiny spaces before they're slaughtered, i.e. chicken's cages are on top of one another... Well, you can put 2 + 2 together...
**PETA offered 10000$ to the person that can tell them who did that  *insert an adjective so horrible that it hasn't been invented yet here* thing