Thursday, June 11, 2015

Pehli Nazar - Love at First Sight

Haven't you ever fallen in love at first sight? With a man or a woman, with a tourist destination, a phone, a dress, a saree, a tie, a shirt, a pair of shoes, a watch? Someone, or something you just saw was made just for you, and you simply had to have it? Well, you are certainly not the first. And the reason you did fall in love at first sight was because of the 'Halo' Effect.

Visual communication is a fascinating subject. Every living and non-living thing communicates something or the other. Of course, you need to be able to recognize it. But usually we do, like we form an opinion about a thing when we first see them.

Edward Thorndike coined the term 'Halo Effect', a cognitive bias, where we form an impression about a person, a product, or a brand, the moment we see them for the first time. This 'first impression' is quite persistent, and overshadows the judgment about other qualities of that person.

Several experiments have been conducted to study the halo effect. Let's take a look...

In one experiment, it was found that teachers expect better performance from students who have a better physical appearance.

Don't we all make the mistake of judging a book by it's cover? Or thinking that a movie would be fantastic based on it's promos? Studies have shown that the first visual impression of a product affects the consumers, who believe that because the product is aesthetically pleasing it would also be of a good quality.

There is another interesting study. Participants were given functionally identical phones to use to complete similar and familiar tasks. The phones, were functionally similar, but were dissimilar in appearance; one was like brand new, good looking, the other had a less appealing appearance. The results showed that users found the more appealing phone to be more usable.

A search on the Internet will reveal several such studies which demonstrate the importance of the halo effect. Visual communication is an interesting subject to study, and I will keep sharing some interesting concepts here.

But all said and done, that 'pehli nazar ka pehla pyar' (Love at first sight) is unforgettable, right?