What is the Halo effect?

The Halo effect is where good-looking people are perceived to be more trustworthy, kinder and smarter.

Well, it is a cognitive bias in which an observer’s overall impression of a person influences the observer’s feelings or thoughts about their character or properties.

Positive feelings in one area cause ambiguous or neutral traits to be viewed positively. In many scientific studies, attractiveness has meant that people are perceived to be trustworthy and friendly due to the halo effect.

The word halo is used in analogy with the religious concept, where a glowing circle is seen floating above the heads of saints in paintings. The observer is led to believe that anyone with a halo is a good and worthy person.

Attractiveness is not measured by the way someone dresses, this comes into the “first impression”. Attractiveness is based on the overall perception of the person.

How does this translate to dating?

Well in dating terms if someone is good looking, the opposite sex will subconsciously be thinking that will be great in a relationship. It almost makes them believe straight away that the relationship is going to work.

They might be the worst and nastiest person, but this is if you like masked by the “Halo” effect.

So this is how the following 4 groups should consider the “halo” effect:

1. Dating someone you perceive as attractive

Basically, watch out for the “halo” effect. They may well be trustworthy and friendly or is that what you are perceiving.

Back up your initial assertions with deeper conversation. Free your mind and make sure you are judging their personality on observable factors, not getting this confused by the “halo” effect.

2. If you know you are attractive

If you know you are attractive, you know you are going to be seen as trustworthy and friendly. You need to back this up with observable actions. This will reassure your date that it is not all in the looks.

3. Opening your eyes to someone who you perceive as not quite so attractive

You will always tend to want to go for someone who you perceive to be attractive, but there are plenty of other personality traits which you should consider.

Think about the way they make you feel in ways other than looks alone, look beyond your immediate first impression.

Try going on a few dates with someone who may not be your number 1 pick in terms of looks, but who you would still say is attractive.

They might just surprise you and you might well fall in love with them due to other compensating factors.

We are not saying you MUST go with someone you don’t find attractive at all as there has to be some spark.

But just don’t think that this is the most important/number 1 thing that you need to make it work.

4. If you know you’re not that attractive

Then you have to play to your other strengths, remember that someone is not going to find you immediately attractive and play to your other strengths.

Show that you are still kind and trustworthy (as the halo effect would provide if you were attracted to them.


So there you have it, this post sums up what the Halo effect is and what it means for you when dating.


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