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Testing the Halo Effect

based on 4 ratings
Author: Megan Doyle

Grade Level: 9th to 12th; Type: Social Science

Objective:

This experiment will investigate whether the halo effect can be used to describe people's perceptions of others.

Research Question:

  • If people make a certain judgment about a person in one area, are they more likely to make a similar evaluation in other, unrelated areas?

The halo effect leads us to believe that because people are good at doing one thing, they will also be good at many other, unrelated things. This experiment will use test subjects to study this psychological phenomenon.

Materials:

  • Video recorder
  • Computer with software for video editing and playback
  • Printer
  • Male and female test subjects

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Recruit a volunteer to set up a brief scenario which you will record.
  2. Film this volunteer describing an image or painting. In one version of the video, your volunteer should describe the image coldly and disinterestedly. They should appear unfriendly and inarticulate. Next, film the same person describing the image in an animated and enthusiastic way. They should speak clearly, look into the camera and smile. In both versions of your video, ask the volunteer to use the same basic mannerisms.
  3. Create a survey to give to your test subjects that analyzes their interpretations of your video scenarios. Example questions could include: On a scale of 1 to 10, rate the presenter’s level of intelligence. On a scale of 1 to 10, rate the presenter’s attractiveness. On a scale of 1 to 10, rate the likability of the presenter’s mannerisms.
  4. Show one group of test subjects the first video and a different group of test subjects the second video.
  5. Once they have watched the videos, ask them to take your survey.
  6. Analyze your results. Do you observe the halo effect taking place? Does the average survey score differ between the two groups of test subjects?

Terms/Concepts: halo effect

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