The Halo Effect

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The Halo Effect is a social phenomenon where perception of one trait or behavior of a person influences judgment of other, unrelated traits. In interpersonal relationships it takes the form of perceiving one aspect of a person as “good”, then later judging other characteristics and possibly even their entire being as good.

It also commonly takes the opposite form: if a person’s behavior or traits in one area are perceived as “bad”, then they are seen as bad in other areas, if not an overall bad person. In this case it is known as the Reverse Halo Effect.

The Halo Effect can be seen in everyday life, yet most people don’t recognize it even when it is pointed out to them.  The Halo Effect is used in cases where something is known about a person but other traits are not — people generalize their perception of this one characteristic to other traits.

It is also thought that the Halo Effect arises to avoid cognitive dissonance. People have a difficult time holding the idea of someone as good in one area, and bad in another, or vice versa. To create a consistent impression and relieve this pressure they simply see the person as all bad or all good.

Physical Attractiveness

A common example of The Halo Effect is the perception of physically attractive people as good, virtuous, or intelligent. People who are judged by others as physically appealing are generally given other positive attributes and more leeway than people who are judged to be average or below average in appearance.

It has been shown that people judge their partners as more attractive than others rate their partners. But people also rate their partners as kinder and smarter than others rate them, and kinder and smarter (and more physically attractive) than people they aren’t intimately involved with.

This might seem to be harmless or positive, but partners’ are unable to see each other objectively. Worse, when the Reverse Halo Effect occurs with one’s partner, relationships hit a dead-end due to negative evaluations on both sides.

barack-obama-haloThe Social Scene

People who are viewed as charismatic or popular tend to be rated highly in other areas as well (On the other hand, people lacking in such traits aren’t seen well as a whole). This creates a feedback mechanism whereby a person who is perceived as well-liked and favored gains more applause and appreciation.

The Halo Effect has been used to describe United States’ President Barack Obama’s rise to success and popular approval. As well as his later drastic plunge in public favor.

The president’s public speaking ability, confidence, and good looks helped to increase his nationwide approval via the Halo Effect. Despite not having the political clout of others, his social favor helped grant him the highest office of the country.

Enter the Reverse Halo Effect. The president’s inability to satisfy some of the desires of those who initially approved of him caused his overall approval to decline. What was once a slight disappointment among supporters turned into the largest decline in approval of any president in the last half century, with predictions of it dropping even further.

In other words, beware the Halo Effect.

Do you notice your use of the Halo Effect? Have you ever seen the Halo Effect in process?

Sasha Obama

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Natasha Obama (2001-), better known by the nickname of Sasha, is the younger daughter of the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, and Michelle Obama, the first black First Lady. She has been in the public eye for most of her life.

She was born in Chicago, while her mother worked at the University of Chicago and her father served on the Illinois Senate. Her birth, while a blessing, took an extra toll on her parents who were trying to balance their careers with taking of their first child, Malia. Sasha was a lively baby who kept her parents up at night — when they were both there. Her father traveled often, which left her mother to care for her most of the day.

When she was only three months old, she contracted meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. She almost died. The experience brought her parents even closer together and they took time off from their jobs to care for their child.

sasha-obamaAs a child in Chicago, Sasha attended University of Chicago Lab School, a private day school affiliated with her mother’s place of work. She left the school after her father was elected to be president in 2008 and the family moved into the White House. She attends Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C. with her older sister, Malia. After school, Sasha participates in tap and gymnastics.

Living in the White House isn’t all luxury for Sasha. As per her mother Michelle’s rules, Sasha must clean her own room and clear her own dishes, despite having staff available to take care of these tasks. Michelle says she wants her children to take responsibility.

When she’s done with her chores, Sasha has fun playing with her dog, Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog. Their father promised the dog to Sasha and her sister, and they received it when they moved to the White House. Bo was given to the family by late Senator Ted Kennedy.

Sasha is the youngest of the Obama family but has the largest personality — she has been described as “The First Family Ham” for her outgoing and funny nature. She keeps her father smiling by always wanting to have fun, even when others think it’s the wrong time for play.

In the summer of 2010, she met the royal family of Spain with her mother on a sight-seeing trip to the European country.

Her father expects her to become a babysitter when she is a teenager to learn how to manage money. To start her off, Sasha receives an allowance of a dollar a week.

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Attractive Features in Men

What does a woman find attractive in a man? What makes a man stand out from the crowd? There is no secret recipe for the Most Gorgeous Man, but there are some physical features which are more common in attractive men than others.

Following are the top seven features I find most appealing in men:

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1. Height

Generally, tall (6 feet/1.82 meters and above) men are more attractive than shorter men. There are multiple reasons why, but given the same basic appearance, a guy who is tall will seem more appealing than one who is average height or shorter. Tall men who aren’t as attractive look better because of their height.

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2. Well-Defined Jaw/Bone Structure

A chiseled jaw and well-formed bone structure make a man strikingly handsome — there are few universally attractive men who lack a well-defined bone structure. Good bone structure is essential to good looks.

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3. Warm Eyes

Men with soft, warm eyes have a special appeal. Warm eyes exude kindness and an understated strength. They can make an average face stand out.

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4. Broad Shoulders

Broad shoulders are a classically attractive masculine feature and for good reason. Large shoulders appear protective. Combined with a good height and/or well-defined bone structure, they are irresistible.

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