Cheerleader effect

Cheerleader effect

By Janna, 20.11.2023

The cheerleader effect is a fascinating phenomenon in social psychology. According to this theory, a group of girls or women looks more attractive than individually on their own. But does this only apply to women? And what process in our brain instigates this effect?

How I met your mother

The cheerleader effect refers to the idea that people seem more attractive as part of a group than when they are judged by themselves. This phenomenon became popular through the television show How I Met Your Mother. It seems that a group of people, especially women, have a certain charisma together that is not always so strong individually.

The male counterpart

Although the cheerleader effect was initially associated with women, it also applies to groups of men. Men can also appear more attractive when they are part of a group. This may have to do with the dynamics, self-confidence and charisma involved in group interaction. Study has shown that people are also viewed as more attractive on group photos than in photos by themselves. This study showed that this mechanism works for both men and women.

How does this work in our brains?

The cheerleader effect can partially be explained by how our brains process faces. When we see a group of people, our brains process individual characteristics in less detail. This makes small imperfections less noticeable while the overall harmony and appearance of the group stand out more.

The power of group dynamics

The group dynamics also play a major role. A group often radiates trust and connection, which is attractive in itself. We also often like the idea that someone has a lot of social contacts. Someone who has a lot of friends and is popular will probably be a nice person, which our brains also translate into attractiveness.

The sober view

Even though it’s been proven several times that the cheerleader effect truly exists, focusing on it too much seems a little exaggerated. When you rate someone with a 10 in a group, you surely won’t find them completely unattractive individually. So instead of getting too caught up in it, just view it as an interesting phenomenon.


Both men and women can benefit from the added attractiveness that a group brings. So if you go out, it’s smart to do this with a group of friends if your goal of the evening is to flirt a lot and maybe even score a one night stand. Just let the group dynamics enhance your shine!

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