Halo effect of faces and bodies: Cross-cultural similarities and differences between German and Japanese observers


According to the halo effect, person perceptions are globally biased by specific traits or characteristics. Attractive people are attributed positive traits like prosociality, health, and dominance. However, due to a strong focus on facial stimuli it remains unclear whether this effect can also be found for bodies. Furthermore, most studies involved observers from individualistic cultures. This preregistered study explored the cross-cultural consistency of halo effects for men’s faces and bodies. Facial photos and 3D body scans of 165 German men were judged separately for attractiveness, prosociality, health, and dominance by 123 German and 100 Japanese observers. Results were mostly cross-culturally consistent and revealed strong attractiveness halo effects for faces and bodies, and a dominance halo effect for bodies, but not faces. Further predictions of the one ornament hypothesis were supported. This study provides new insights on halo effects as cross-culturally consistent cognitive biases in person perception for faces and bodies.

PsyArXiv (preprint)