Horn effect: this is how our negative prejudices work

Human beings are imperfect. Due to the biological heritage of our most primitive ancestors, people conceive an image or first impression of others in seconds.

This phenomenon is attributed to the speed and agility of the brain to decide and act as it should. good the Horn effect is something similar: It turns out that it is a tendency to form a negative opinion of someone from a simple discreet observation.

    Prejudice as a starting point

    Before we get fully into the technical definition of what the Horn Effect involves, we need to understand something fundamental about human behavior. We are social beings, we need the acceptance of others and to make a good impression. We cannot avoid it, we always want to be part of an identity, of a group.

    As usual, in the same way that we give one image or another intentionally, we also think of others. We constantly prejudge, and we do it pessimistically and many others optimistically. Let’s see below what translates to what has been said so far.

    What is the horn effect?

    The horn effect everything is antagonistic to the Halo effect. The latter consists of the generation of a favorable opinion about a person as a whole, from the observation of a single characteristic that defines him: generally, his physical appearance. We have built a fictitious mind map based on very limited information.

    On the other hand, the Horn effect simplifies the perception of what has been observed from the attention fixed on the negative. When we joined a football team, we paid attention to the harangue that the coach reproduces. Depending on the tone, gestures and vocabulary used, we will think that this is a serious person, with a tendency to a state of tension and anger. When the session is over, it turns out that he offers to take us home and we have a nice chat with him. Once again, we break the psychological mold that we put together.

    In short, the Halo effect and the Horn effect these are biased and subjective visions that have been analyzed by our cognitive abilities. Selective attention to the traits we are examining is also part of this process. Sometimes we insist on continuing to paint a bad (or good) image of that person to keep our pre-established beliefs.

    In the labor market …

    We live in an age where everything counts, every detail adds up or subtracts, every word denigrates or floods, and in the world of work this is a very dangerous trend. Especially when it comes to making staff selection. According to statistics, 80% of new applicants do not pass the personal interview.

    It often happens that we go to a job interview, with a profile more than sufficient, meeting one hundred percent all the requirements demanded by the job offer, and we return home disappointed and without having accepted the job. ‘stop. For better or for worse, the Horn Effect has a terrible impact on the selection processes of candidates looking for a new career opportunity.

    According to a study revealed by the business newspaper Expansión, more than 80% of potential candidates for a new job waste time submitting CVs or attending interviews called by companies. Human resources managers or managers spend no more than a minute reading the resume or, in many cases, throw half of it in the trash lack of time. They are set to the minimum and an opinion is formed from very little data.

    Some tips to avoid the horn effect

    To begin with, it should be emphasized that it will be virtually impossible to avoid making value judgments about others. We are human beings and this is a very natural tendency. However, here are some recommendations to follow to avoid this behavior as much as possible.

    1. Self-analysis

    When we find ourselves immersed in a prima facie analysis of a person we have just met, and realize which aspects we are highlighting, we will need to take stock. If we pay close attention to the negative, we will have to look for the positive side, and vice versa. Only in this way will we approach a better perception of what we observe.

    2. Be patient and avoid precipitation.

    We always rush to everything. We live in an age where everything happens very quickly, everything is instantaneous and consumption is immediate. It also happens at the human level. You need to give yourself time, interact more with that person, and then assess their personality.

    3. Don’t be fooled by the first impression

    The Horn effect responds, as it could not be otherwise, to a first impression. This point is correlated with the previous one. reebemos insists on seeking more experiences with this person we have a bad personal relationship with. Perhaps one is in one way at work and another diametrically opposed to social life.

    4. Share your opinion with others

    In some situations, we are a group or duo of people who know one another or others at some point. A highly recommended tip is to exchange opinions with the partner. It is surprising to see how the different ways of analyzing the elements radically vary the value judgments.

    Bibliographical references:

    • Belloch, A., Sandín, B. and Ramos, F. (Eds.) (1995). Manual of psychopathology (2 vol.). Madrid: McGraw Hill.
    • Bulbena, A., Guimón, J. and Berrios, G. (1993). Measurement in psychiatry. Barcelona: saved.

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