Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Frazier, Kimberly

Committee Member/Reader

HolyField, Christine


Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have difficulty perceiving subtle social cues such as tone of voice, facial expressions, body language, and physical boundaries. These difficulties are well-established in the literature and lead to the social communication challenges characteristic of the disorder. Although the detection of subtle social cues is critical to all human interaction, there are other processes at play as humans relate and interact on a day-to-day basis. One such principle that has been firmly established but seldom considered is a cognitive bias known as the Halo Effect (HE), which is the tendency to assign numerous traits to an individual based upon initial impressions. Although the HE has been recognized among neurotypical individuals (NI), it is not known if this bias is operative among persons with ASD. This project will add to the current knowledge base by comparing two groups on the tendency to assign values such as leadership, intelligence, trustworthiness, and kindness based on physical attractiveness and grooming. This research will contribute to the discussion of visual attention and whether individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder give notice to the physical appearance of others and how outward appearance shapes their perception of other persons.


Halo Effect, Autism Spectrum Disorder