The halo effect is a cognitive bias in impression formation that happens when people assume that when a person has a positive trait, such as physical attractiveness, the rest of their characteristics are also positive, leading to an overall positive perception of that person (Thorndike, 1920; Radeke & Stahelski, 2020). Conversely, the horns effect links together a negative trait, such as unattractiveness, with other seemingly negative traits (e.g., selfishness), leading to an overall negative perception (Radeke & Stahelski, 2020). However, these impression formation heuristics can lead to inaccurate impressions and poor judgments (Baumeister & Vohs, 2007). The current study examines the application of cognitive dissonance theory when one becomes aware that the formed impression is inaccurate. It was expected that, the individual would become aware of the inconsistency between reality and the impression, feel aversive (i.e., experience dissonance), and would ultimately work to reduce the dissonance through reduction strategies (Aronson, 1969; Elliot & Devine, 1994; Festinger, 1962; Harmon-Jones & Harmon-Jones, 2007; McGrath, 2017). Results indicated that the halo and horn effect were not present and there was not an overall positive or negative perception due to physical attractiveness. However, condition and information influenced impression ratings.
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Sanders, Amber, "Halo Meets Horn: Influence of Dissonant Information in Impressions" (2023). Murray State Theses and Dissertations. 304.