Asch conducted a study in which participants were given either warm (happy, fun and positive) or cold (negative, unhappy and pessimistic) words to describe an individual. The participants were then asked to write a few sentences about the individual and what they felt about them. Results showed that those who were described as warm were described by participants as being happy and generous whereas those who were associated with the word cold were described with the opposite traits than those with the word warm.
Asch found that those who were described as intelligent or skilful were seen as this by third parties. Consequently these findings provided evidence for the halo effect (Feingold 1992) Psychologists use the term halo effect (Feingold 1992) whereby if a person is described through the use of positive words, he or she will be seen as a positive. Although Aschs study found a direct link between pre-information and impression formation, many psychologists oppose his view and argue that Aschs study lacks realism and therefore is difficult to apply to real life and subsequently lacks ecological validity.
This means that Aschs studies cannot be used to explain occurrences revolving around impression formation in real life. This is due to the fact there is a large amount of artificiality and therefore results may have been susceptible by demand characteristics exhibited by participants. This is because the words cold and warm may be associated with something within a different dimension and not central traits such as warm meaning happy and vice versa.