The strength of the effect was further confirmed in a review Eagly et al. Despite the large body of literature on the relationship between aesthetic appearance and trustworthiness, several questions remain unanswered. Almost all of the available literature focused, in fact, on adult individuals sampled from the WEIRD population, rendering generalizability an issue Henrich et al. Moreover, even though some studies have been conducted on children's faces, demonstrating that the effect exists in children Dion et al.
As children's faces are known to be special stimuli that automatically capture adults' visual attention and elicit parental care Brosch et al. Not only children's faces, but also adults' faces with facial traits that resemble the stereotypical traits of children, such as big round eyes, have been shown to influence adult viewers' estimations such that baby-faced adults are perceived as more trustworthy, warm, and innocent see Zebrowitz, , for a review.
Moreover, repeated exposure to the same face has been reported to influence viewers' judgments of others' traits and skills, such as in the judgment of politicians' competence Zajonc, ; Verhulst et al. Finally, controversial results have been found for what concerns the importance of the rated individuals' gender. Significant differences between the scores given to males and females have been found in the works of Carter , but not in others Wetzel et al.
To overcome the limitations of previous studies, this study aims to verify how the a ethnicity ingroup vs. The data collection stage of the project, with the methods described in section 2. Serendipitously, the data collected for this project allowed us to investigate the stability of the HE over time over time.
One additional hypothesis—H 2 —was therefore added to study such effects. We formulated two hypotheses. The first hypothesis, analytic plan, and method were pre-registered on the Open Science Framework; the second hypothesis was formulated after beginning the data collection. The complete analytic plan is reported in section 2.
We predict the age of presented face to have an effect on the strength of the relationship, with the strength of the correlation higher for adults than for children's targets, but not the ethnicity or the gender of presented face. Rationale : Children's faces elicit parental care regardless of kinship and hence, capture greater attention compared to adults faces Brosch et al. Additionally, a recent study conducted by Collova et al.
Results of Collova's studies revealed that adults rate children's faces on different dimensions to adults' faces. More specifically, when rating children's faces, the evaluation is not based on trustworthiness. This suggests that evaluation of children's faces are not judged on their perception of trustworthiness, regardless of how aesthetically attractive they are. If so, one should expect the relationship between aesthetic appearance and trustworthiness to be stronger for adults' ratings of adults' faces as compared to children's faces.
Therefore, we can expect the relationship between aesthetic appearance and trustworthiness to be stronger for adults' ratings of adults', as compared to adults' ratings of children's faces. From prior work, we know that gender Wetzel et al.
But for the sake of completion, we decided to investigate these two demographic variables, with the expectation that neither gender nor ethnicity will have a significant impact on our observed results. In line with previous studies, we do not expect to find a significant impact of gender on the strength of the effect.
With regard to ethnicity, differences may be present in the aesthetic ratings given to individuals of the ingroup or of the outgroup. However, as the implicit judgment of trustworthiness is based on the elaboration of facial cues that occur faster than the elaboration of ethnicity-specific traits e. Rationale : Research has established that Asian and Caucasian faces are perceived as distinct categories Zhou et al.
In a study conducted by Xu et al. However, Koopmans and Veit found that negative inter-ethnic contact can cause reduced trust toward members of the outgroup. In light of the COVID pandemic global threat, following the diffusion of news about the spreading of the novel coronavirus in China, and with politicians targeting a specific ethnic group Zheng et al.
Previous research work by Fincher et al. It is therefore possible that, with the subsequent outbreak in Western countries, together with the adoption of specific measures to counter the diffusion of the virus in Eastern countries, collectivist beliefs brought about a reduction in the perceived trustworthiness, but not aesthetics, of Caucasians as evaluated by Asians.
Such findings will suggest that salient threats of contagion, such as during the COVID pandemic, may elicit the tendency to prefer interactions with familiar ingroups and reject unfamiliar outgroups. This tendency, given its strong evolutionary undertone, should be present in most people regardless of their culture. Account for this assumption, one should expect a global reduction of trust in the perception of adult faces, regardless of the cultural backgrounds of these adult faces.
Such global reduction, however, should not be observed in the aesthetic perception, which unassociated with the threat of contagion. Taken together, these hypotheses suggest that we should see a generalized reduction of trust, but not aesthetics, toward both Asians and Caucasians adults' faces.
For evaluation of children's faces, a different situation is expected. In an event-related potential ERP study conducted by Proverbio and De Gabriele , it is reported that the other-race effect does not apply to infants' faces, supporting the specificity of the age of a face over its ethnicity for young faces. Differences in adults' perception of adults' and children's faces in other-race effects studies were also reported by Kuefner et al. These findings suggest that the salience of infants' and children's faces should limit the impact of race on the estimation of other traits.
Building on the work from Collova et al. Taken together, findings on the specificity of infants' and children's faces suggest that the age dimension plays a prominent role, more than the possible perceived threat dimension, in the evaluation of children's faces. It is therefore possible that, when presented with faces of children, adults' trustworthiness judgments are less likely to be influenced by the aesthetic traits of a child's face, as compared to when they are rating an adult's face.
From a biological point of view, this behavior would reflect mammals', and especially humans', altruistic responses toward infants Preston, Consequently, we do not expect any difference in the judgment of both the aesthetic and trustworthiness of children's faces before and during the initial stages of the COVID pandemic outbreak.
Informed consent was obtained from all the participants before the study. These social media and communities were selected in order to ensure our Caucasian sample would be composed of participants from different geographical areas, and especially North America and Europe. The gender and ethnicity of participants are reported in Table 1. Participants were presented with 64 faces of two different age groups 32 adults, 32 children , genders 32 males, females , and ethnicities Asians, Caucasians.
This structure allowed for the presentation of eight faces per combination of age, gender, and ethnicity e. Government Works license. While values of aesthetics pleasantness were not available in the source dataset, images were selected with the aim to cover all the possible spectrum of values for aesthetics for each combination of age, gender, and ethnicity.
The manipulation successfully worked, as values that covered the whole spectrum of possible ratings were obtained, and enough variance was achieved for the set of faces in both aesthetics and trustworthiness ratings, of which we expected four images to receive lower ratings in aesthetics and four to receive higher ratings in aesthetics. Selected faces were presented in random order, with no time constraints. After having signed the informed consent, participants were instructed about the scope and procedure of the experiment, as well as the taxonomy employed in the study.
More details are reported in section 4. The analytic plan was pre-registered on the Open Science Framework. A power analysis was conducted to estimate the number of participants required for this study H 1. Given that previous works have found the effect size for the HE of human faces to be of medium strength, to take into account a possible bias in published works Collaboration, ; Camerer et al.
The strength of the HE is measured as the Pearson's correlation between aesthetic and trustworthiness ratings. A z -test is employed as a post-hoc test to test whether the HE is stronger for adults than children faces. Additionally, a confirmatory analysis is conducted by means of a multiple linear regression analysis. For what concerns the second hypothesis H 2 , four Levene's tests for equality of variance have been conducted on aesthetics and trustworthiness, comparing the variance of data collected before and after the diffusion of news about the novel coronavirus, once for adults' faces and one for children's faces.
In order for H 2 to be verified, we expected significant differences in the variance of trustworthiness ratings toward adults' faces before and after our threshold date, but not for adults' faces aesthetics ratings, nor for both aesthetics and trustworthiness ratings toward children's faces.
To take into account the multiple numbers of tests conducted, a correction for multiple tests using the Benjamini—Hochberg procedure, with a false discovery rate of 0. A significant interaction between face's age and ethnicity ingroup vs. Taken together, the findings suggest that, at a general level, when adult raters make inferences about others' aesthetic and trustworthiness, they do not rate people of different gender or ethnicity differently, but they adopt different strategies for adults and children.
These results indicate that adults are more likely to estimate the trustworthiness of other adults from their aesthetic appearance, while the estimation is less consistent when it comes to predicting the trustworthiness of children from their appearance. Additionally, the strength of the relationship between the two variables has been further confirmed using a multiple linear regression analysis, with the formula reported in Equation 1.
Results are reported in Table 2. Focusing on the behavior of a single ethnic group e. Table 2. Results of the multiple linear regression used to investigate the strength of the HE and the influence of age, gender, ethnicity, and aesthetic on trustworthiness. The Benjamini—Hochberg procedure, with a false discovery rate of 0. Results of the comparison between the variability in aesthetics and trustworthiness judgments toward both adults' and children's faces are reported in Table 3.
Results q -values highlight significant changes in the variability of trustworthiness ratings toward adults' faces before and after the beginning of the COVID pandemic outbreak, but not in aesthetics ratings given to adults' faces, nor to aesthetics or trustworthiness ratings given to children's faces. Table 3. Results of Levene's test of variance for aesthetics and trustworthiness judgments toward adults' and children' faces q -values are evaluated using the Benjamini—Hochberg procedure at a 0.
Based on previous works within the field of the HE , we hypothesized that the impact of perceived aesthetic on trustworthiness judgments would depend on the age of presented faces, but not on their gender or ethnicity H 1. Results of the analysis of variance show the main effect of the age of presented faces but not of gender or ethnicity, nor of any interaction effect between gender and ethnicity, confirming H 1.
Moreover, our post-hoc z -test confirmed that the relationship between aesthetics and trustworthiness is stronger for adults' as compared to children's faces. In light of the results here presented, our analysis supports the specificity of children's faces. In fact, only the age of the presented faces but not the gender or age influenced the strength of the HE in our sample, measured as the Pearson correlation between individuals' aesthetic appearance and perceived trustworthiness.
As reported in previous works on the Baby Schema effect Venturoso et al. A possible explanation for this may be drawn from the evolutionary perspective. In fact, the cure of the offspring plays a central role in the survival of the species, and therefore adult individuals may be more prone to trust a younger individual even though the perceived aesthetic appearance is low.
On the other hand, when looking at adult faces, the evaluation of someone's trustworthiness is largely based on made on the basis of the appearance. Our exploratory analysis further confirmed the specificity of children's faces. In fact, both Caucasian and Asian participants revealed no significant differences in the strength of the HE when exposed to either children of their same ingroup or of their outgroup.
While the same can be said for Asian adults looking at Asian and Caucasian adult faces, this does not hold true for for the Caucasians in our pool of participants, who indeed showed significant differences in the strength of the HE when exposed to faces of other Caucasians higher Halo as compared to adult Asians lower Halo. This confirms previously published results on both the specificity of children faces, and significant differences in adults' physiological activation Esposito et al.
While this goes beyond the initial plan of this work and has been in fact not treated as hypothesis confirmation but as exploratory analysis, the general findings here reported about the HE are in line with previous works that investigated cross-cultural differences across Asians and Caucasians with different methodologies. Future work should investigate significant differences between the strength of the Halo in Asian and Caucasian participants by properly defining one or more hypotheses and by recruiting an adequate number of participants to verify novel hypotheses with adequate power.
On the subject of the stability of the HE over time H 2 , the analysis of the variance of data collected before and after the diffusion of news about the novel coronavirus section 3. Differently, no changes are found in the aesthetics and trustworthiness judgments of children's faces.
These results are in line with our predictions on the specificity of children's faces. While our results confirm the possibility of modulating the strength of the HE, the current dataset does not allow the study of the qualitative impact of an external event, nor we can claim that changes in the stability are caused exclusively by the current pandemic and public policies. Future studies should address this problem by empirically presenting the external events, using a priming procedure, and measuring the impact over time with a longitudinal and experimental approach.
Despite the strength of the results here presented, there are several limitations worth highlighting. As mentioned earlier, the data collection stage started before and continued during the novel coronavirus pandemic outbreak. To reiterate, significant differences were found in the trustworthiness ratings given to adults faces before and during the pandemic outbreak.
Therefore, while our first hypothesis H 1 has been empirically verified accordingly to our preregistered plan, we cannot rule out the possibility that the overall world's situation played an indeterminate role in shaping our results, nor that events other than the COVID pandemic outbreak influenced our results.
Future works should investigate the stability of the effect under a controlled condition, such as by using a prime. Moreover, while we targeted Asian and Caucasian participants, we have not investigated the influence of participants' ethnicity at a more specific level e. Future studies should focus on a single ethnic group to verify the consistency and generalizability of the results here presented. Additionally, while participants were informed of the scope of the experiment, including the fact that we were specifically interested in aesthetic appearance, participants whose first language is not English may not have a specific counterpart for this concept.
Future works should investigate participants' behavior using questions posed in their native language. An additional note has to be placed on the terminology employed in this study. A possible critique is that the experimental setup does not allow to measure aesthetic pleasantness, but liking. While this is a valid critique, participants were informed of the scope of the experiment before enrolling and at the beginning of the experiment.
Moreover, our results differ significantly from other works that investigate the relationship between liking and trustworthiness using a similar paradigm [e. Our results show that the strength of the correlation between the perceived aesthetic and trustworthiness of strangers' faces is affected by the age of presented faces, but not by their ethnicity or gender. These results support the body of literature on the specificity of children faces. Moreover, this research serve to add to the limited amount of works that investigated the consistency of the HE elicited by aesthetics and trustworthiness across different cultures, and especially in Asian and Caucasian individuals.
Additionally, our results show that when a major event that disrupts people's perception of others is presented, such as the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic outbreak, the strength of the association between perceived aesthetics and trustworthiness is less stable for adults' as compared to children's faces. This is, to the best of our knowledge, the first study that examines i the effect of gender, age, and ethnicity simultaneously on the strength of the relationship between aesthetics and trustworthiness, as well as the stability of the HE over time when measures that can affect trustworthiness judgments of others e.
From a more practical point of view, our results are open to the possibility that external events or actions can affect the relationship between aesthetics and trustworthiness. For example, individuals may use tactics to increase their own perceived trustworthiness or to reduce the perceived trustworthiness of others. We can think of politicians, for example, salesmen, or more in general, activities that require us to interact with a stranger and to evaluate the trustworthiness of a person before approaching or interacting with him or her.
Overall, results of our work confirm the generalizability of the HE across cultures, as well as the specificity of children's faces. Additionally, our work provides a first investigation of the stability of the HE over time.
Future studies should investigate the effect on more specific ethnic subgroups e. Chinese , when the stability of the HE is systematically influenced by mean of an experimental paradigm e. The datasets presented in this study can be found in online repositories.
The studies involving human participants were reviewed and approved by Institutional Review Board—Nanyang Technological University. GG and GE conceptualized, designed, and conducted the study. AL and PS revised the analytical method. GG drafted the manuscript, while all the authors contributed to the final version of the manuscript. GE supervised the project. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Asch, S. Forming impressions of personality. Abnormal Soc. Brosch, T. That baby caught my eye. Attention capture by infant faces. Emotions 7, — Camerer, C. Evaluating the replicability of social science experiments in nature and science between and The researchers have shown that the halo affects are a well-known source of bias in judgment attributes. Judgments made following one-second exposures to side-by-side photos of two US congressional candidates were reasonably predictive of election outcomes.
Politicians that are rated high in both physical attractiveness and vocal attractiveness benefit the most from the halo effect, while politicians judged low on one or both qualities as unattractive will benefit the least from the halo effect. Kaplan yielded much of the same results as are seen in other studies focusing on the halo effect—attractive individuals were rated more highly in qualities such as creativity, intelligence, and sensitivity than unattractive individuals.
However, in addition to these results Kaplan found that some women were influenced by the halo effect on attractiveness only when presented with members of the opposite sex. When presented with an attractive member of the same sex, the effect was attenuated for some women. Their work shows this to be more prevalent among females than males, with some females being less influenced by the halo effect.
Either the halo effect is negated by feelings of jealousy in women  or the halo effect is lessened when women are looking at same sex individuals  or the attractiveness halo effect can be controlled for in women. The researchers defined rate error effect, which refers to mistakes made by raters when they use a rating scale of an individual. Then, researchers showed that halo effect is one component of rate errors effect because it can influence on the way others get measured. The reverse halo effect occurs when positive evaluations of an individual cause negative consequences.
A follow up study with both men and women participants supported this, as well as showing that attractive women were expected to be conceited and have a higher socioeconomic status. Eagly et al. A negative form of the halo effect can manifest called the horns effect, the devil effect, or the reverse halo effect, in which the observer allows one unfavourable or disliked trait or aspect of a person or product to influence his or her global opinion of the person in a negative direction.
This phenomenon occurs when people allow an undesirable trait to influence their evaluation of other traits. Abikoff et al. In this study, both regular and special education elementary school teachers watched videotapes of what they believed to be children in regular 4th-grade classrooms. In reality, the children were actors, depicting behaviors present in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD , oppositional defiant disorder ODD , or standard behavior. The teachers were asked to rate the frequency of hyperactive behaviors observed in the children.
Teachers rated hyperactive behaviors accurately for children with ADHD; however, the ratings of hyperactivity were much higher for the children with ODD-like behaviors, showing a horn effect for children who appeared to have ODD. Regular and special education elementary school teachers watched videos of a normal child whom they were told was either emotionally disturbed, possessing a learning disorder, mentally retarded, or "normal".
The teachers then completed referral forms based on the child's behavior. The results showed that teachers held negative expectancies toward emotionally disturbed children, maintaining these expectancies even when presented with normal behavior.
In addition, the mentally retarded label showed a greater degree of negative bias than the emotionally disturbed or learning disabled. 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.
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.
Taken together, these studies suggest that all seven of the characteristics that have defined halo error for much of its history are problematic and that the assumptions that underlie some of them are demonstrably wrong. Additionally, they discuss the idea of "true halo"—the actual correlation between, for example, attractiveness and performance as an instructor—and "illusory halo" that refers to cognitive distortions, errors in observation and judgement, and the rating tendencies of the individual rater.
They claim that any true differentiation between true and illusory halos is impossible in a real-world setting, because the different ratings are strongly influenced by the specific behaviors of the person observed by the raters. A study by Forgas states that one's mood can affect the degree of the halo effect's influence.
When someone is in a favorable mood, the halo effect is more likely to be influential—this was demonstrated by study participants choosing between pictures of an elderly man with a beard and a young woman, and deciding which subject possessed more philosophical attributes. Additionally, when asked to list the happy times in their life, the halo effect was more evident in the perceptions of the participants.
Forgas's study suggests that when one is gauging the extent of the halo effect in a situation, one must consider the emotional state of the person making the judgment. A report on "the link between disease and leader preferences" claimed that "congressional districts with a higher incidence of disease" were more likely to show a halo effect "on electoral outcomes.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the cognitive bias. For other uses, see Halo. Type of cognitive bias. See also: Physical attractiveness stereotype. Main article: Horn effect. Psychology portal. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. Advertising Age. Crain Publications.
Retrieved Dictionary of Nursing and Research. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. December Gender Issues. S2CID November The Journal of Psychology. Joel; DiMaria, Cristina 1 May Sex Roles. Psychological Review. PMID July The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. E Elsevier's Dictionary of Psychological Theories 1st ed. Thinking, fast and slow 1st ed. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. ISBN Rosenzweig Bibcode : PLoSO..
PMC BBC News. Retrieved 18 January The New York Times. Popular Mechanics. Hearst Communications, Inc. Retrieved 12 December April Journal of Communication Management. Current Obesity Reports. Social comparison and eating behavior". Journal of Eating Disorders. The Jewish Chronicle. The Jerusalem Post.
Ronald House Durham. Retrieved 26 November International Journal of Research in Marketing. The Halo Effect:. New York: Free Press. Elsevier's Dictionary of Psychological Theories. Amsterdam: Elsevier Reference Reviews. The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology. Mission Bell Media. Cognitive Biases in Visualizations.
Cham, Switzerland: Springer. The Halo Effect. Lake Union Publishing. Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health. HR for Small and Medium businesses. Current Contents. January 30, Political Psychology. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior. March Current Psychology.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
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