Haeckels Prokaryotic Theory


HALO EFFECT. The halo effect (also called the atmosphere effect and halo error) is a person-perception phenomenon that refers to the tendency (favorable or unfavorable) to evaluate an individual high on many other traits because of a belief, or evidence, that the individual is high on one particular trait; that is, the rated trait seems to "spill over" onto other traits. The halo effect most often emerges as a bias on personal rating scales, but may also appear in the classroom (e.g., R. Nash, 1976). The effect was first reported in 1907 by the American psychologist Frederick L. Wells (1884-1964), and was first supported empirically by E. L. Thorndike in 1920. The halo effect/error is detrimental to rating systems because it masks the presence of individual variability across different rating scales. Many suggestions have been offered to control or counteract the effect. For example, rating all people on one trait before going on to the next, varying the anchors of the scale, pooling raters with equal knowledge, and giving intensive training to the raters (this technique appears to be the most effective). Related closely to the halo effect is the concept of the devil effect (also called the horns effect or reverse halo effect), where a rater evaluates an individual low on many traits because of a belief, or evidence, that the person is low on one trait that is assumed to be critical, or is an unwarranted extension of an overall negative impression of an individual based on specific attributes/traits. The halo effect and the devil effect usually increase to the degree that the rated characteristic is vague or difficult to measure. See also EXPERIMENTER EFFECTS; PYGMALION EFFECT. REFERENCES

Wells, F. L. (1907). A statistical study of literary merit. Columbia University Contributions to Philosophy and Psychology, 16, 3; Archives of Psychology, No. 7. Thorndike, E. L. (1920). A constant error on psychological ratings. Journal of Applied Psychology, 4, 25-29. Nash, R. (1976). Teacher expectations and pupil learning. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

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