Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cognitive bias of the week : the halo effect

The halo effect refers to a cognitive bias whereby the perception of a particular trait is influenced by the perception of the former traits in a sequence of interpretations.

One aspect of this trait is to assume that a competence in one area implies a competence in another area. Effective individual contributors (in my world they are called engineers or techies) are promoted to managers where they fail to deliver and spend the rest of their working life morning the loss of skills they used to have.

Here is an other example from a local Westminister candidate who suggests that being good at golf (whatever a handicap of 6 means, I don't know) and going to Chapel on a regular basis are traits which suggest a competence in making decisions on my behalf and holding ministers to account. I find it hard to take anything else seriously after reading about golf and chapel, but the writter was endeavoring to exploit (probably unconsciously) the Halo Effect. The paragraph did strike me as The Now Show material.

No comments:

Post a Comment