In a recent study, researchers asked participants to rate the attractiveness of people in photos. When shown in a group of three, people were rated more highly than when they were photographed alone. If you watch “How I Met Your Mother,” you might recognize this phenomenon as what the characters call “the cheerleader effect.” The researchers posit that when you look at a group, you subconsciously pay less attention to each individual’s imperfections, so they seem to look better.

MORE: Science Proves the Cheerleader Effect