Nov 11, 2013 10:21 AM EST
Hanging Out with Good-Looking Friends Boosts Our Attractiveness Average, Study
There is a phenomenon known as the 'cheerleading effect' , which has been coined by researchers at the University of California, San Diego.
Reference to the same phenomenon was made by Barney in the seventh episode of the fourth season of 'How I Met Your Mother,' Barney refers to a group of women in a bar as 'collectively attractive' but individually 'sled dogs.'
Researchers claim that people tend to look more attractive and beautiful when seen in a group rather than as separate individual objects. The minute they are seen separately, their flaws are visible to the naked eye.
They added that individual's asymmetries and disproportionalities are most likely to 'average out' in the presence of others, making their strange little faces appear slightly less weird.
Researchers, Drew Walker and Edward Vul came up with this theory after conducting five experiments. Around 130 participants rated the attractiveness of people in photographs, either presented alone or in groups. The researchers found out that people in groups received higher attractiveness ratings.
"Average faces are more attractive, likely due to the averaging out of unattractive idiosyncrasies." They refer to this as the "cheerleader effect," Walker told the Atlantic.
"The fact that the visual system represents objects as an ensemble, individual objects are biased toward the ensemble average, and average faces are perceived to be more attractive than faces in isolation. Together, these phenomena should cause faces in a group to appear more like the group average than when presented alone, and that group average should tend to be more attractive than the individual faces, on average," the researchers said.
The cheerleading effect does not depend upon the size of the group. The effect was observed in different group sizes.
"Having a few wingmen or wingwomen, may indeed be a good dating strategy, particularly if their facial features complement and average out one's unattractive idiosyncrasies," the researchers said.
So, if you want to look more gorgeous and stunning, go start hanging out with your fine looking friends. The 'cheerleading effect' might bring groups of girls together as friends. But a friendship made on this basis, might not last longer.
The study has been published in Physiological Science.
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