Change in Evaluation Mode can Cause a Cheerleader Effect

Messner, Claude; Carnelli, Mattia; Höhener, Patrick (2021). Change in Evaluation Mode can Cause a Cheerleader Effect. Frontiers in psychology, 12 Frontiers Research Foundation 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.607448

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The cheerleader effect describes the phenomenon whereby faces are perceived as being more attractive when flanked by other faces than when they are perceived in isolation. At least four theories predict the cheerleader effect. Two visual memory processes could cause a cheerleader effect. First, visual information will sometimes be averaged in the visual memory: the averaging of faces could increase the perceived attractiveness of all the faces flanked by other faces. Second, information will often be combined into a higher-order concept. This hierarchical encoding suggests that information processing causes faces to appear more attractive when flanked by highly attractive faces. Two further explanations posit that comparison processes cause the cheerleader effect. While contrast effects predict that a difference between the target face and the flanking faces causes the cheerleader effect due to comparison processes, a change in the evaluation mode, which alters the standard of comparison between jointed and separate evaluation of faces, could be sufficient for producing a cheerleader effect. This leads to the prediction that even when there is no contrast between the attractiveness of the target face and the flanking faces, a cheerleader effect could occur. The results of one experiment support this prediction. The findings of this study have practical implications, such as for individuals who post selfies on social media. An individual's face will appear more attractive in a selfie taken with people of low attractiveness than in a selfie without other people, even when all the faces have equally low levels of attractiveness.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute of Innovation Management > Consumer Behavior

UniBE Contributor:

Messner, Claude Mathias, Carnelli, Mattia Raffaele, Höhener, Patrick Stefan


600 Technology > 650 Management & public relations
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Frontiers Research Foundation




Claude Mathias Messner

Date Deposited:

20 Apr 2021 15:45

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:50

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Hierarchical encoding,attractiveness,change in evaluation mode,cheerleader effect,evaluation mode




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