Cheerleader effect

If you squint, people's faces start looking more and more alike, until they're all just blobs.

That's a simple way to abstract a drawing.

As a short-sighted person, this happens to me all the time, objects blur more and more the farther away they are. And I might be fooling myself, but I'm still at the edge of not needing to wear glasses on my day to day. I just use them while driving, watching movies, or attending to a presentation.


Sketches of people wandering around the streets make some of the most attractive pages in my sketchbook—people stare at them, probably completing the missing parts in their minds, as the sketches are made out of rough strokes without much detail.

What's calling people's attention? I believe it's the cheerleader effect, also known as the group attractiveness effect.1 According to the research carried out in 2013 and 2015, the effect is the cognitive bias which makes us think that individuals are more attractive when they are in a group.

I don't think any of those individual sketches of people are perfect or specially attractive on their own but being part of a page seems to make them more attractive. The pattern—not its individual elements—is easier to like.


What do you think?


  1. Apparently, the phrase was coined by Barney Stinson in an episode of How I Met Your Mother first aired in November 2008. (Read on Wikipedia.) ↩︎


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