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The group extremity effect: Group ratings of negatively and positively evaluated groups of faces are more extreme than the average ratings of their members
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology  (IF3.603),  Pub Date : 2021-05-29, DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2021.104161
Sara C. Verosky, Lillian Tyack, Joel E. Martinez

When forming impressions of groups, people's impressions tend to reflect the average rating of the group members. However, group impressions have also been found to depart from an unweighted average of member ratings. For example, in the recently reported group attractiveness effect, groups were found to be more attractive than would be expected based on the average rating of the group members. In contrast, other studies have found that groups are rated as less attractive than would be expected. In two experiments, we found evidence for a group extremity effect that can help explain these prior findings. In this group extremity effect, group ratings of negatively and positively evaluated groups of faces are more extreme in either direction than would be expected based on the average ratings of the members. For negatively evaluated groups of faces, group ratings were significantly more negative than would be expected based on the average ratings of the group members. For positively evaluated groups of faces, group ratings were significantly more positive than would be expected based on the average ratings of the group members. The group extremity effect was larger for groups with more variability in the ratings of the group members, suggesting that attention to extreme group members underlies the effect. These data demonstrate how the biases involved in evaluating individuals based on appearance can be amplified when rating groups.