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confirmation bias

"It is the peculiar and perpetual error of the human understanding to be more moved
and excited by affirmatives than by negatives." --Francis Bacon
Confirmation bias refers to a type of selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and
to look for what confirms one's beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the
relevance of what contradicts one's beliefs. For example, if you believe that during a full
moon there is an increase in admissions to the emergency room where you work, you
will take notice of admissions during a full moon, but be inattentive to the moon when
admissions occur during other nights of the month. A tendency to do this over time
unjustifiably strengthens your belief in the relationship between the full moon and
accidents and other lunar effects.
This tendency to give more attention and weight to data that support our beliefs than we
do to contrary data is especially pernicious when our beliefs are little more than
prejudices. If our beliefs are firmly established on solid evidence and valid confirmatory
experiments, the tendency to give more attention and weight to data that fit with our
beliefs should not lead us astray as a rule. Of course, if we become blinded to evidence
truly refuting a favored hypothesis, we have crossed the line from reasonableness to

Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for,
interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's beliefs or hypotheses, while
giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities

Halo effect
The halo effect works in both positive and negative directions (the horns effect): If the observer
likes one aspect of something, they will have a positive predisposition toward everything about it. If
the observer dislikes one aspect of something, they will have a negative predisposition toward
everything about it

A person’s attractiveness has also been found to produce a halo effect. Attractiveness provides a
valuable aspect of the halo effect to consider because of its multifaceted nature; attractiveness may
be influenced by several specific traits. These perceptions of attractiveness may affect judgments
tied to personality traits. Physical attributes contribute to perceptions of attractiveness (i.e. weight,
hair, eye color). For example, someone who is perceived as attractive, due in part to physical traits,
may be more likely to be perceived as kind or intelligent

the halo effect

The halo effect refers to a bias whereby the perception of a positive trait in a person or
product positively influences further judgments about traits of that person or products by
the same manufacturer. One of the more common halo effects is the judgment that a
good looking person is intelligent and amiable.

There is also a reverse halo effect whereby perception of a negative or undesirable trait
in individuals, brands, or other things influences further negative judgments about the
traits of that individual, brand, etc. If a person "looks evil" or "looks guilty" you may judge
anything he says or does with suspicion; eventually you may feel confident that you
have confirmed your first impression with solid evidence when, in fact, your evidence is
completely tainted and conditioned by your first impression. The hope that the halo
effect will influence a judge or jury is one reason some criminal lawyers might like their
clients to be clean-shaven and dressed neatly when they appear at trial.


 "In the classroom, teachers are subject to the halo effect rating error when evaluating their
students. For example, a teacher who sees a well-behaved student might tend to assume
this student is also bright, diligent, and engaged before that teacher has objectively
evaluated the student's capacity in these areas. When these types of halo effects occur,
they can affect students' approval ratings in certain areas of functioning and can even affect
students' grades."
(Rasmussen, Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology, Volume 1, 2008)
 "In the work setting, the halo effect is most likely to show up in a supervisor's appraisal of a
subordinate's job performance. In fact, the halo effect is probably the most common bias in
performance appraisal. Think about what happens when a supervisor evaluates the
performance of a subordinate. The supervisor may give prominence to a single
characteristic of the employee, such as enthusiasm, and allow the entire evaluation to be
colored by how he or she judges the employee on that one characteristic. Even though the
employee may lack the requisite knowledge or ability to perform the job successfully, if the
employee's work shows enthusiasm, the supervisor may very well give him or her a higher
performance rating than is justified by knowledge or ability."

The Halo Effect at Work in the Real World

As you read above, the halo effect can influence how teachers treat students, but it can also
impact how students perceive teachers. In one study, researchers found that when an
instructor was viewed as warm and friendly, students also rated him as more attractive,
appealing, and likeable.
Marketers take advantage of the halo effect to sell products and services. When a celebrity
spokesperson endorses a particular item, our positive evaluations of that individual can
spread to our perceptions of the product itself.

Job applicants are also likely to feel the impact of the halo effect. If a prospective employer
views the applicant as attractive or likeable, they are more likely to also rate the individual
as intelligent, competent, and qualified.

So, the next time you trying to make an evaluation of another person, whether it is deciding
which political candidate to vote for or which movie to see on a Friday night, consider how
your overall impressions of an individual might influence your evaluations of other
characteristics. Does your impression of a candidate being a good public speaker lead you
to feel that she is also smart, kind, and hard-working? Does thinking that a particular actor is
good-looking also lead you to think that he is also a compelling actor?

Being aware of the halo effect, however, does not make it easy to avoid its influence on our
perceptions and decisions.

The halo effect is a term used in marketing to explain the bias shown by customers towards
certain products because of a favorable experience with other products made by the same
manufacturer or maker. Basically, the halo effect is driven by brand equity.


For example, if a customer buys product C which is made by company X, not because of
the attributes or benefits of the product, but because he or she had a favorable experience
with product D - another product made by company X, the purchased item is said to be
prospering because of the halo effect.

A classic example of the halo effect is the relationship between the Mac notebooks and
iPod. When the iPod was released, there was speculation in the market place that the sales
of Apple's Mac laptops would increase, because of the success of the iPod. The belief was
based on the halo effect, as customers who had a great experience with the iPod would buy
a Mac simply because it is made by Apple Inc