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You folks who hate group photos—think again!
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.
Meet Drew Walker and Edward Vul from the University of California, San Diego. They say how we're perceived may literally be due to the company we keep.
In a series of experiments, the duo found that pictures of faces seem more attractive when viewed as part of a group. Why? Their theory? The unattractive idiosyncrasies of individuals are averaged out in favor of what they call an “ensemble” look.
These good-looking results were reached after volunteers were shown pictures of 100 people and asked to rate the faces for attractiveness. Sometimes the people were in same-sex groups; sometimes they were alone.
Overall, both males and females were considered better looking in group shots.
And the group didn’t have to be a group at all. Individuals were also rated higher when their picture was part of a collage.
Which explains why we all looked so great in our high school yearbooks! Oh, wait—no, we didn’t. More research is apparently needed.
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The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, in partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.