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Cheerleader Effect – Psychology Term Of The Day

Cheerleader Effect – Psychology Term Of The Day


Today’s term from psychology is Cheerleader
Effect. The Cheerleader Effect, also known as the
Group Attractiveness Effect, refers to the tendency for people to appear more attractive
in a group. This is a rather strange effect because it
may ultimately be nothing more than a side effect of how our eyes work. A series of experiments repeatedly verified
that the Cheerleader Effect is real, and may be the result of the interplay of three visual
phenomena. It appears that the human visual mechanism
for detecting and recognizing faces, is strongly influenced by the features of any and all
faces that are near each other. It’s as if our eyes were comparing all the
faces it sees at the same time, and using them to construct an average face. We call this average face a “template.” The perception of individual faces in that
group are then biased towards the template. And as we know from previous experiments,
a face made from averaging the features of a number of other faces, is considered to
be more attractive. So the biasing of individual faces toward
the template, tends to make the individual faces more attractive. In part this may happen because facial features
that are unique or extreme get “averaged” out in the group. In essence, the individual faces will seem
more attractive in a group, because they appear more similar to the average group face, which
is more attractive than members’ individual faces.

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