If you’re dressing up for Halloween tomorrow, make it a group costume. People seem more attractive when they’re part of a group than when they’re on their own, a new study says.
The paper repeatedly references a season four episode of “How I Met Your Mother”: Ted sees a group of girls in the bar that he wants to hit on, but before he does, Barney warns him of the “cheerleader effect” — the idea that people seem better-looking in a group than when scrutinized individually.
“Also known as the Bridesmaid Paradox, the Sorority Girl syndrome and, for a brief period in the mid-nineties, the Spice Girls conspiracy,” the Neil Patrick Harris character says. (I’d also like to add the Boy Band Illusion here, something countless millennials fell prey to in the mid- to late-nineties.)
In this study, published in the journal Psychological Science, researchers rounded up undergrad students from the University of California, San Diego, and asked them to rate the attractiveness of the people in 100 group photographs. (In one experiment, the group pictures were of women; in the second, it was all men.)
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