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Journal of Applied Psychology 1993 Vol 78 No 2 218 225 Copyright 1993 by the American Psychological Association Inc 002I 9010 93 3 00 Nature and Consequences of Halo Error A Critical Analysis Kevin R Murphy Robert A Jako and Rebecca L Anhalt The definition of halo error that dominated researchers thinking for most of this century implied that a halo error was common b it was a rater error with true and illusory components c it led to inflated correlations among rating dimensions and was due to the influence of a general evaluation on specific judgments and d it had negative consequences and should be avoided or removed We review research showing that all of the major elements of this conception of halo are either wrong or problematic Because of unresolved confounds of true and illusory halo and the often unclear consequences of halo errors we suggest a moratorium on the use of halo indices as dependent measures in applied research We suggest specific directions for future research on halo that take into account the context in which judgments are formed and ratings are obtained and that more clearly distinguish between actual halo errors and the apparent halo effect When an individual is rated on multiple performance dimensions or attributes the rater s overall impression or evaluation is thought to strongly influence ratings of specific attributes Cooper 1981 b a phenomenon that is referred to as halo error Thorndike 1920 Discussions of halo error are most frequently encountered in the context of evaluative judgment e g in interviews and performance appraisals but similar phenomena have been noted in research on illusory correlation Chapman Chapman 1969 implicit personality theory Lay Jackson 1969 and interpersonal judgments Nisbett Wilson 1977 Research on halo errors in rating can be traced back to the early part of this century Thorndike 1920 Wells 1907 Although there are a number of different conceptual and operational definitions of halo Balzer Sulsky 1992 Saal

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