haHi. I’m Antonio Centeno and you’re listening to the Personal Image System podcast.
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I also pull in my experience having helped thousands of men dress better as a custom clothier. I also pull in my science background so we’ve got this whole science of style section.
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All right. So, today we’re going to dive right into the halo effect. This is probably one of the most sided pieces of research or generalizations that you’ll hear in probably the style industry. I saw the original research put out by Thorndike back in 1920. And what this guy, Edward Thorndike what he found and he was looking at a number of – and this is personal to me and I’ll go into the story here which I usually don’t cover, but I think is a very applicable.
So, he was studying military officers and what he saw is that whenever an image was associated with them, they usually have their pictures, if anyone has been in the military they used to have these files on everyone, basically performance reports.
You do them every six months, it’s required. So, it’s – he had all these data and he was able to look at it and what he noticed is that if a person looked like the ideal that they possessed, the quality of what was perceived as the ideal soldier they were ranked higher.
And, initially he called it the halo air the halo defect because what happened is if these guys looked the part of the perfect soldier and we’re talking from characteristics of face to shoulder built to all of these things. And if you think of a soldier you think of an ideal marine or an ideal sailor, what do we think? We think tall, we think strong, we think built in a way that a soldier should be built that he can, you know, he’s got big muscles and all these other things.
However, my experience in the Marine Corps that does not define what the ideal, in fact, if you ever talked to anyone in special forces or navy seals, you know, let’s go to what the, you know, each of the services they’ve got, you know, Delta in the army and Marine Corps, we’ve got Force Recon. The point is if you talk to the guys there isn’t a definition of what these guys look like because it comes down to resilience and grit and being able to handle things and take a positive spin when life sucks. That’s what gets those guys through what they do. It has nothing to do with how big your muscles are.
But, the problem here and I saw in the Marine Corps is that whenever we see someone who is the ideal who looks that magical part of men, he looks lock on. We assume that they are locked on. Thorndike saw this and it was something that he was like trying to think why in the world are these guys just getting in a sense of free pass.
When I go back to my own experience as an adjutant in an infantry battalion I saw everyone’s – I saw all the reports and one thing that kind of disturb me is I remember one officer who I don’t feel he was really given the chance because he spoke with a stutter because he did not look the part, he was very thin he was, you know, kind of mixed Asian decent and there are all these things about him that didn’t make him look like the typical marine.
I can tell you though he was an amazing officer and versus another officer who looked the part.
This guy looked like he came out of a GI Joe package, he had everything set up, you know, going form, but when it comes down to it, I thought he was a crummy officer. I thought he was one that he didn’t, I mean there were just things I knew and I would talk with these marines and I was surprised that the one who looked the part was always it seems given a free pass.
He was always perceived when something went wrong in his unit that, you know, it was because of extenuating circumstances versus the other one it was like he was just perceived as, ah, you know, he wasn’t perceived as high quality.
So, I saw this and, you know, it’s one of those things where you probably have seen it through life, somebody that’s beautiful somebody that’s really attractive, we’ve seen it at work. There is someone out there — I’ve had guys tell me about this that they – that maybe there’s a woman at work, she’s incredibly attractive and because of that and she works in a very, you know, let’s say an environment where there’s a lot of men, she is given a free pass and all the things. Yeah, she can’t, you know, she doesn’t do a great job here, but we love to have her around because she just puts a smile on everybody’s face.
I don’t know if they’re actually saying that and I know I don’t mean that to sound sexist or anything because it actually applies to men as well. If the guy looks like he is a type A, then he, you know, he came out of like a top school, he gives that kind of presence, he’s going to get a lot of free passes as well.
And, you know there’s only so much you can control about your body shape about your facial structure, about, you know, the color of your skin and your hair, all these other things, but it is something that you can do something about the presentation. You can get in better shape, you can take care of your body, you can stand with a better posture, you can wear clothing that makes you look great.
And, what happens here is that you all of a sudden are able to put on a halo. Why does this matter? So, the big point if you’re going to take anything from this, you know, convoluted intro that I got in there is look the part because then people will give you the benefit of the doubt versus if you don’t look the part.
If you betray their expectations, then they’re going to, you know, find reasons, they’re going to say, oh, well, I thought, you know, he didn’t look like that smart of a person, he didn’t look that great of a customer service representative, I knew this was going to happen versus if you look the part, then they’re like, you know, I’m going to give him another chance because this just seems out of character.
How do they know your character they haven’t, you know, they just hired you. But, it is one of those things that I would rather you get the benefit of the doubt and get multiple chances than for them to confirm in their mind their suspicions about you and then to get rid of you immediately.
So, Thorndike he started he did this research back in 1920 and one of the things I advocate is look at when the research was done. A lot of the research done, you know, less than thirty or forty years ago sometimes they change the way that, you know, the scrutiny that they put these things under. I don’t know if Thorndike’s research the way it was done then would actually, you know, still, but it has been reinforced and I can tell you that we go back to I think it was 1972 Dion and Berscheid at the University of Minnesota.
Basically, they gave students photographs of people and they ask them to rate the people based on a wide range of traits; negative and positive. Overwhelmingly, the attractive photos were rated as having positive personalities; happy, high status lives, while unattractive photos were judged to posses negative characteristics.
And what’s funny I just saw another study. This was about ten years ago, I don’t actually have it, it was more like I was watching the video. But, what they did is they took pictures of the same guy and they put it out there, but the put a few, you know, they changed up the way he was dressed, they changed up his perceived height and all of a sudden based off how attractive he was and his perceived height, they ask people, oh, what do you think that this person does. And, when he was dressed like a student he had messed up hair, he was wearing very casual clothing, oh, like maybe a dishwasher, maybe he’s a student, maybe he’s – I mean all these things which I mean they’re not bad, people have to do them.
But, as soon as he was wearing a suit as soon as he had his pers – I mean we’re talking the same person here, it just simply, oh, and they also height had something to do with it as well, they perceived him, oh, he’s probably he’s – he’s a startup of a CEO he’s making this amount of money. It’s very interesting how these things can have an effect. I know height I could go down a whole another realm with that one.
Now, let’s talk about another study. This one I think it was in 1974 and Landy and Sigall over at – I don’t actually have the university where they [wrap up].
What they did is that they put in front of people unattractive photos and they had a writing sample and then they put attractive photos with the same writing sample. And you know what happened? Is it if it was an attractive person and they saw the person and they saw the writing sample, they would give it a higher rating than they would if it was an unattractive person.
Now, a lot of these studies they have to do kind of with the shoulders and the face up, but one thing I’ve seen in this is oftentimes attractiveness has to do with hair. So, if you’re a woman listening to this actually hair has a lot to with attraction.
With a man as well, there’s a lot you can actually do with your hair, so it’s one of the reasons I advocate to the men, actually pay attention to his hairstyle maybe it’s something especially if he’s out there in, you know, the business world that he maybe spend a little bit more time putting himself together.
I have a friend, you know, a number of friends actually that do a great job with their part, they add product. In my opinion, having a little bit of product having a little bit of shine to your hair showing that you actually put a little bit of effort into it gives you a much dressier look.
Now, there’s a number of other studies out there. There’s the NIsbett and Wilson study, I think it was 1977. I’ve also got some more recent ones which I have actually in my science of style section over at the Personal Image System where all of these information is coming from. But, guys, understand that it’s not like somebody sees an attractive person and they consciously make the decision I’m going to trust them more. It’s almost an unconscious effect.
And, we can go back to let’s look at Nixon versus Kennedy, go back to those original debate. And one of the interesting things is whenever we had – and so they had both candidates they were in different parts, one of them was in Los Angeles, Nixon, the other one New York, Kennedy was over in New York. Kennedy was very particular about the way he was – the light was about the way he was going to be featured and shown.
Nixon didn’t give it as much like this was a whole new thing, the whole idea of television and doing a debate here. And as such, Nixon came off as not as trustworthy. He didn’t seem as someone that, you know, you would actually enjoy being around. Kennedy came off as more approachable just as more trustworthy and that had an effect.
And, they’ve shown this halo effect, I think it’s actually the study I just talked about where the 1977 Nisbitt study where they actually filmed lecturers and they actually showed it to the same students and based off of how the lecturer was dressed or how the actor who was perceived or who actually was the lecturer how attractive he was, they actually thought he was either a nice gay a good guy, intelligent versus if he actually wasn’t presented well that all of a sudden that negative attention. The same thing with musicians, if a musician goes onto a stage and he betrays your expectation.
And, I’m not talking about just presentation because with the Personal Image System, one of the things I advocate, clothing is just a part, but it’s also how you walk out on stage. It’s how you present yourself. It’s how you sit, it’s how you stand. It’s making sure if you’re going to be doing a classic presentation or you’re in a conservative industry, do not betray the expectation, don’t come in there and think, I know a lot of people say, oh, I just want to be myself. Well, in this case it may be worth being a little bit more polished and making sure that you deliver to the audience what they expect.
So, guys, I covered a lot of studies in this. I go into a lot more detail if you go over if you want just the free information, go check out Real Men Real Style. I’ve got tons of studies in which we talk about how this has an effect. But, I wanted to get you interested in this and understand the halo effect is real and it impacts people’s evaluation of you every single day.
So, whether you’re walking down the street whether you’re walking into a presentation, understand that the way that initially you present yourself will have, you know, people will put a positive spin or a negative spin.
And, if they put a negative spin, you’re going to have to try to overcome it versus if you can get them to get that positive take on it, then all of a sudden you can make mistakes and they’ll say, oh, they’ll excuse them because they’ll just think they’re anomalies. Make sense?
All right. So, if you enjoyed the halo effect and you want to read the notes on this, go over to www.realmenrealstyle.com/episode10. That’s where this one is going to be at. You can go over there and get the show notes, I go into a lot more detail. And, guys you can explore Real Men Real Style where you’re going to find we’ve got infographics, all that other great stuff which is going to better help you understand the science of style, the halo effect, and many other studies and bits of information about men style.
Interested in learning more about how style could increase your earning power, help you command respect and come off as more attractive? Guys, I’ve got two options for you. First, check out the Personal Image System. I’ve got a science of style section, it’s action-oriented, it’s got an amazing community, live training, and a hundred plus lessons with resource material or check out Real Men Real Style.
Guys, I’ve got a free app over there. It has some of the world’s best infographics built right into it. It’s got a thousand plus free videos and articles. Also, we’ve got free e-books, free courses, I’ve even got a free consultation system where you can enter a little bit of information about yourself and we spit out a personalized video for you.
Guys, that’s it. I’ll see you in the next episode.