Cheerleader Effect, or People Are More Attractive in Groups

cheerleaders
Image by Chris Cameron / CC BY

It all stems from a joke on the TV show How I Met Your MotherCharacter Barney Stinson points out that when women sit in groups that they all seem more attractive than if they were sitting alone. He calls this the Cheerleader Effect and likens it to how a squad of cheerleaders look gorgeous mid-routine but comparatively plain Jane alone.  » Read more

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Yes, Forcing Yourself to Smile Actually Does Make You Feel a Little Better

chopsticks
Image by Bruce Guenter / CC BY

My grandma once told me that if you’re sad that you should just put on bright lipstick and smile.

Her reasoning was more about self-protection than anything else. She said that people would be too busy looking at your lipstick to notice your sadness.

And so you’d avoid the most dreadful states of all: Pity.  » Read more

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Shooting the Messenger: When You Tell People Bad News, They Like You Less

silhouette of an archer holding a bow and arrow
Image by Andreas Øverland / CC BY

It can be tough when you have a difficult message to deliver. Especially unpleasant news.

I’ve definitely been in situations when I had to be the one to deliver bad news and then promptly had my head bitten off by the recipient — even in situations where I didn’t do anything and all of the action involved third parties!  » Read more

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Yikes! Apparently A Third of Women Have Dated Men Just for the Free Food.

a dinner plate featuring steak, lobster, asparagus, and micro greens
Image by bloomsburys / CC BY

As I wrote in the last installment of this series, science’s role is to test hypotheses and uncover the truth. Sometimes this uncovered truth is surprising. Other times it’s a big duh, “Well thanks for the info, Captain Obvious” kind of moment.

Frankly, reality doesn’t care as much about our biases as we do.  » Read more

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One Little Word We Use, Or Don’t, Can Provide Hints About Our Attachment Style

a black and white photo of a row of escalator with only a single person riding any of them
Image by d26b73 / CC BY

As I’ve written in previous posts, perhaps the biggest lesson of all in child development is that the first year of so of our life is a radically important time for us emotionally. While we continue to learn about trust and social relationships over the course of our life (and experience another notable period of turbulence at puberty),  » Read more

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Yes, You Probably DO Have a “Type”

illustration of 3 identical looking people side by side. In this case, it appears to be woman wearing sunglasses and a sun hat and a swim top and jean shorts
Image by Pixabay / CC 0

Have you ever emerged from a very difficult relationship, swearing off ever dating someone like that again, only to find yourself later gravitating towards people who share a lot in common with your ex?

I sure have. And at that point, it becomes a mental wrestling match where I weigh the pros and cons and try to remind myself that people can have similar characteristics and yet not carry the same baggage or engage in the same difficult behaviors.  » Read more

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Why Public Figures Who Say Homophobic Things Are So Often Caught Having Gay Sex

shadowy image of someone's feet as they sit on a toilet
Image by sunshinecity / CC BY

At this point, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched a public figure who’s vehemently homophobic end up getting nabbed in the act of having gay sex. Typically somewhere wildly inappropriate, too. Like at their office. Or in a public restroom.

Places you really shouldn’t be having sex, even if you aren’t being a giant hypocrite who says TEH GAY IS EVIL.  » Read more

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When You Know Something But Can’t Remember Where You Learned It

a skeleton with a visible brain standing in front of a background of a puzzle with missing pieces
Image by Pixabay / CC 0

My friend is talking to me about a study with interesting findings.

“Oh wow,” I say. “That sounds really cool.” I tell them if they could send it over to me that would be great.

“Sure,” they say. But then add, “Actually, I’m not sure where I heard about it.”

We spend the next several minutes seeing if they can give me some more details.  » Read more

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