Halo’s and Horns


Protect yourself against the Halo-effect. Or use it for the better.

Have you heard about ‘the Halo effect’ before? When people see good traits in you, they will be inclined to have a positive attitude towards all your actions. For this reason, beautiful people are also seen as good and smart. People without a criminal record are less frequently suspected of a crime. This is a logical error, a so called ‘cognitive bias’.

Barack Obama

If you are the lucky owner of a halo, people will assume your good intentions. For example, Barack Obama benefited from his excellent public speaking skills and charisma. He is automatically perceived a good leader.

The opposite of the halo effect is ‘the horn effect’. Be careful not to accidentally catch horns. For instance, if you’re late for a job interview, this might have an effect on how your personality as a whole is perceived.

Brands with Halo’s

The brightness of the halo is contagious. By being a brand ambassador, a well-loved celebrity can share a bit of his or her popularity with a brand. Some brands or organizations managed to attain a halo themselves. Take the heroic Red Cross. A brand like Coca-Cola is eager to connect its own brand with Red Cross, making many donations to Red Cross disaster response programs.

How do you protect yourself?

If you don’t want your thoughts to be clouded by the halo or horn effect, how to protect yourself from this logical error? Realize that every occurrence stands on his own and therefore must be judged to the situation. A hero can make a mistake. An idiot can tell the truth.

How do you use the Halo effect?

You can also benefit a bit from the halo effect. How? For example by becoming a specialist. If you excel in a certain field, people will assume your good intentions in other areas of your life.