The Halo Effect

Last Updated on March 30, 2021

What is The Halo Effect?

I wrote about The Halo Effect in Issue #11 of Mental Models Weekly.

The Reverse Halo Effect

I am particularly interested in The Reverse Halo Effect. Sometimes called The Devil Effect or The Horn Effect. At its simplest, it’s assuming if you don’t like something about someone you don’t like anything about them. Anything that person does or says or write is dismissed, instead of appraising it on its merits.

It’s easy to notice with public figures. The Guardian said it well, “a leader can become so demonized in certain countries or populations that it is no longer possible to assess their achievements and failures in a balanced way.”

I’ve noticed it recently from the left leaning, who seem to be severely affected by The Reverse Halo Effect when it comes to Donald Trump. Also I’ve noticed it with Jordan Peterson, who clearly has some interesting things to say, regardless of whether you agree with everything he says.

A related mental model is The Fundamental Attribution Error.