Hierarchical Encoding Makes Individuals in a Group Seem More Attractive

@article{Walker2014HierarchicalEM,
  title={Hierarchical Encoding Makes Individuals in a Group Seem More Attractive},
  author={Drew Walker and Edward Vul},
  journal={Psychological Science},
  year={2014},
  volume={25},
  pages={230 - 235}
}
In the research reported here, we found evidence of the cheerleader effect—people seem more attractive in a group than in isolation. We propose that this effect arises via an interplay of three cognitive phenomena: (a) The visual system automatically computes ensemble representations of faces presented in a group, (b) individual members of the group are biased toward this ensemble average, and (c) average faces are attractive. Taken together, these phenomena suggest that individual faces will… 

Figures from this paper

Two replications of "Hierarchical encoding makes individuals in a group seem more attractive (2014; Experiment 4)".

The cheerleader effect implies that a person in a group look like more attractive than in isolation. Walker and Vul (2014) reported results supporting the existence of the cheerleader effect. We

Limited evidence of hierarchical encoding in the cheerleader effect

Across three experiments, this work investigated whether the cheerleader effect is consistent with hierarchical encoding, by asking observers to give attractiveness ratings to the same target faces shown in groups and alone, and offered only limited evidence for the role of hierarchical encoding in the cheerleaders effect.

Visuospatial asymmetries do not modulate the cheerleader effect

The results show that the cheerleader effect is a robust phenomenon, which is not influenced by the spatial arrangement of the faces in the group.

The “cheerleader effect” in facial and bodily attractiveness: A result of memory bias and not perceptual encoding

The cheerleader effect for faces and bodies is due to a bias in memory and does not occur at an initial stage of perceptual encoding, and the effect was significantly larger for bodies than faces.

Ensemble perception of facial attractiveness.

Ensemble perception of facial attractiveness was not affected by variance in the stimulus array, did not depend on memory of individual faces in the array, and could be extended to larger arrays with faces asymmetrically distributed around the set mean.

Perception of attractive and unattractive face groups is driven by distinct spatial frequencies.

Results from the three experiments together found that perception of multiple attractive and unattractive faces depends on visual information from different spatial frequencies, suggesting distinctive mechanisms in processing attractiveand unattractive groups of faces.

The Average Facial Expression of a Crowd Influences Impressions of Individual Expressions

It is suggested that people integrate ensemble information about the group average expression when they make judgments of individual faces’ expressions.
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