The Cheerleader Effect


The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders

Want to appear more attractive? Take a picture of yourself in a group. Our brains automatically average the group’s faces into a composite. Composite (averaged) faces are more attractive than an individual face. Together this phenomena are known as “The Cheerleader Effect”. Hence the reason groups of women (think cheerleaders, Vegas showgirls, etc.) are so eye-catching.

Our eyes and brains trick us. What we think we are seeing isn’t necessarily simply what is standing in front of us. It turns out that what we see depends on both the physical stimulus coded by our visual systems  and a blend of contextual information, expectations, and prior knowledge.  Your brain bases its perception on what is around it – the reason office paper appears whiter when bordered with black.

How does this help the average person? To appear more attractive in social media or online dating, consider adding some pictures of yourself in a group. Your friends will even out your features and make you hotter by association.

And for the love of heaven, take down the bathroom selfies. Science says “you’re welcome”.


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