Contributed by Lea C.

The Halo Effect is a bias where when a positive attribute is given to a person or object additional positive attributes are given to the person without any proof.  For example, in a study, 60 students were given 3 photos of different people.  The study found that the subjects believed that more attractive people have more socially desirable personality traits than other individuals.

This same Halo Effect is transferred to objects as well.  Jenny Wan-Chen Lee conducted a study recently on organic foods.  She went to a local mall and put out two plates of cookies, one labeled Organic and one labeled Regular.  However, all the cookies were the same.  She asked the shoppers to rate which cookie was more nutritious, higher in fiber, lower in calories and cost more.  She found that the shoppers rated the cookies with the Organic label as lower in calories, more nutritious and containing more fiber.  Plus she found that they ate more cookies as a result of the organic label.

This effect also happened with diet cookies.  Instead of eating two cookies, people often say ‘since it’s diet I can eat more of them.’

The important point of this study is to think before you eat.  Even if something is labeled as organic you still have to look at the label and look it over.  How much sugar and calories are in the food?  It doesn’t matter if it is organic sugar or regular sugar, it is still sugar.