The Coincidence of Our Physical Appearance with How People Respond to Us

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The experimental study that I am planning on researching is related to Edward Thorndike’s Halo Effect. The Halo Effect is the tendency for an impression created in one area to influence opinion in another area. In this particular study, I will be exploring how race and gender can impact how different people respond to one another. In order to collect my data, I will be creating an online survey that will give research participants different scenarios and I will be using Qualtrics Surveys in order to create my online survey.

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For the different scenarios, I will be taking approximately six people of different races (mixed genders as well) and using them as my confederates. Each confederate will have a different scenario that is connected to their physical appearance and a randomized scenario. I will be asking questions about their physical appearance before having the research participants answer the actual scenario questions that I want to create. An example of this is I will display a photo of a Caucasian female (Jane), who is dressed nicely, with a friendly face. I will ask basic questions such as: do you think you can trust her, do you believe she is smart, do you think she is friendly, etcetera. After these questions are displayed, we will go into the scenario. An example of this is: You notice that Jane is constantly late to class and she does not really pay attention once she is in class.

There is a big exam coming up, and Jane asks you in a panic for your notes, you hesitate because you’ve worked very on these notes. The question will say: How likely are you to share your notes with Jane? This scenario will be randomized, so the confederate could change for each research participant and that will be what we are measuring. I will be using the Likert Scale in order to see how severe the research participants’ beliefs are and how much the halo effect is prominent among college students. The Likert Scale is a scale that rates things from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Within my survey, I will also be including the informed consent and basic demographic questions at the beginning as well as a quick debriefing segment at the end of the survey. Rationale I believe that this is a very important study to continue to develop within psychology for multiple reasons. The main reason is that many people have a lack of understanding about their implicit biases that they carry with them on a daily basis.

In class, we were shown a video of how many professors responded to each confederate based off of the name that they had associated themselves with. Considering the inadequate demographics that we face, I feel as if it important to keep the idea of implicit biases and the halo effect prevalent to our faculty and staff, as well as to our students.

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