Experimental Examination and Extension of the Cheerleader Effect
Personality and Individual Differences
Mate value – the assessment of one's potential worth as a sexual or romantic partner – is influenced by a variety of factors both intrinsic and extrinsic to the individual being evaluated. One of these extrinsic factors, the appearance of the potential partner in a group setting rather than alone, has been shown to increase a person's mate value as assessed via physical attractiveness, a circumstance dubbed the cheerleader effect. The current study provides additional support for this effect with a conceptual replication demonstrating an increase in ratings of targets when those targets are presented in a group compared to when presented singly. However, this effect is moderated by several factors, including target sex, target baseline level of attractiveness, the level of attractiveness of the members of the group, and whether the target is being rated on physical attractiveness or overall value as a short-term or long-term partner. In short, the cheerleader effect was evident for ratings of female attractiveness and ratings of male and female value as romantic partners, but then only when (a) the group contained at least some highly attractive individuals and (b) the individuals being evaluated met a minimum level of attractiveness.
Starratt, V. G.
(2019). Experimental Examination and Extension of the Cheerleader Effect. Personality and Individual Differences, 147, 245-249.
Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cps_facarticles/1853