‘Halo effect is a cognitive bias in which an observer’s overall impression of a person, company, brand, or product influences the observer’s feelings and thoughts about that entity’s character or properties.
The term “halo” is used in analogy with the religious concept: a glowing circle that can be seen floating above the heads of saints in countless medieval and Renaissance paintings. The saint’s face seems bathed in heavenly light from his or her halo. Thus, by seeing that somebody was painted with a halo, the observer can tell that .. this must have been of a good and worthy person. In other words, the observer is transferring his or her judgment from one easily observed characteristic of the person (painted with a halo) to a judgment of that person’s character.
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 towards everything about it. If the observer dislikes one aspect of something, they will have a negative predisposition towards everything about it.’
( Source: Wikipedia)
Lets take an example of the current political situation in India. When any political leader sets very high expectations among the voters who have brought him to power (without delivering promised results in a reasonable time frame), he creates a halo effect in a negative way, knowingly or unknowingly.
Halo effect works in both ways .. positive as well as negative. Very often, in order to glorify oneself to get elected, a politician creates a halo effect by making tall promises. These promises should be realistic in the first place. This ‘halo effect’ principle is adopted across the world and not necessarily only by Indian politicians. In the developed world, such as United States of America, the ‘Yes, We can’ slogan by Barack Obama raised expectations to exceedingly high levels among American voters. But, the achievements of Barack Obama’s government did not commensurate with promises made by him.
In India, this practice of ‘halo effect’ by politicians is compounded because of mass illiteracy existing in our country. And, ‘halo effect’ is also created due to moral corruption of voters who cannot afford small means to meet their basic daily necessities. In such a situation, the voter cannot distinguish the good from the bad. He or She is more worried about meeting his daily necessities and in the process, he allows moral corruption and indulges in faulty voting. Many voters knowingly select the wrong candidate in order to meet their daily necessities by way of gifted articles/ money bags. This is the same case in the daily lives of those who are educated but who are morally corrupt in principle. Most people are chasing more and more material comforts than what they have. When personal interest clouds his or her intellect, such a person cannot distinguish the good from the bad and will not value essential personal relationships too. Such a person will necessarily invite unhappiness in his personal life and live in isolation. Guilt, fear and individual insecurity as a result doing the wrong haunts him. How can he be happy in such a situation?
But now, lets look at the brighter side. In case, the person strives really hard and succeeds to achieve what he or she promises to others, the results are exactly the opposite. This changed situation leads to happiness and bliss in his life and in the lives of those around him. In fact, the person is trying make the halo effect come true in a positive way.
Our country will prosper if the elected leaders keep the promises made by them in order to get themselves elected. And, if the promises are not kept, the elected leaders will be thrown out of power despite ‘unpleasant’ mass illiteracy among the voters. Same is the case in any relationship between individuals, or within a group, or in a large family or in a growing corporate organisation.
‘We should never promise what we cannot deliver.’