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The Cheerleader Effect

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Posted

http://www.theguardian.com/science/shortcuts/2013/nov/05/cheerleader-effect-group-attractive

 

 

A study published last week by scientists at the University of California, San Diego suggests that people look more attractive when seen in the presence of others than when viewed as individuals, a phenomenon known as the "cheerleader effect". But why does it happen? And what can we do with it?

Well, human beings tend to form groups. Whether it's boy bands or battalions, we gravitate towards the company of others, whatever the situation. There are exceptions of course, but by and large people are social creatures.

The California study argues that the cheerleader effect is caused by our tendency to perceive faces in a group as an amalgamated average, rather than separate individual objects, and the fact this "average group face" is more attractive to us than the faces that make it up. (Group influence also affects our perception of how attractive someone is. Studies have shown that if others think someone is attractive, we are more likely to find them attractive too, regardless of how they look.)

The effect has been noticed in pop culture: in the US sitcom How I Met Your Mother, Neil Patrick Harris's character points out a group of girls in a bar who collectively appear attractive, but on closer inspection display serious physical flaws. Likewise, the cheerleaders the effect is named for would look less appealing (and significantly weirder) if they were cheering solo, and a quick glance at any manufactured girl or boy band reveals how the enhanced attractiveness of an ensemble can be used for commercial gain.

Arguably, we could all use the effect to our advantage. If you want people to find you more attractive for some reason (if, for example, you need a good photo for an online dating profile), you may wish to become friends and be seen with people whose physical characteristics complement or "compensate for" your own. That said, it would be difficult to form lasting friendships on such shallow, self-serving grounds.

But human attention tends to focus on differences, so you wouldn't want to be too different from the group; that would only make things worse.

 

 

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Posted

What about the "as you get older, your standards get lower" affect?

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Posted

so wait, this theory wasn't introduced originally by how I met your mother?

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Posted

Anyone up for a group photo?

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Posted

One of the girls in the pic has some gut hanging over.

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Posted

come to think of it, this applies to boy bands as well.

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Posted

I'm not sure that I agree with this.

I think girls can look better when they are isolated. For instance I work in an environment with mostly men(car sales). So when an attractive women comes in I think we portray her to be hotter than we would if she was just of many walking around Southpark mall

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Posted

Not sure I buy it.

To properly evaluate this, I will need to spend some time with a group of hot cheerleaders.

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Posted

sick of you ugly bastards dragging my average down....not you of course Cat!!!!!  :cool:

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Posted

Just randomly went around Facebook looking at group pictures of girls I know in sororities...theory holds true more times than not IMO. 

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Posted

One of the girls in the pic has some gut hanging over.

 

I'd hit it.....

 

Yeah, Biscuit, your standards do get a bit more flexible as you get older.

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Posted

What about the "as you get older, your standards get lower" affect?

 

I guess I'm an exception to this rule. I'm 33 and my standards have done nothing but go up. When I was 18 I would stick my dick in practically anything.

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