The study noted that a person's attention and focus may be hampered due to the cognitive effort required in maintaining a 'one-sided emotional bond' with celebrities.
A new study has revealed that those who obsess over the lives of celebrities often score less on cognitive tests.
It's normal to track and follow the lives of the rich and famous, especially considering how much information we are fed about their lives. To many, it might be a phase, but to some, it can be for a good part of their life and that is not a healthy sign. The study published in BMC Psychology noted that celebrity worship appears to be linked to poorer intellectual capacities. The study doesn't make it clear if the obsession with actors, musicians, and other cultural icons is a cause or consequence of their reduced cognitive abilities, reported IFL Science.
The researchers who carried out the study recruited 1,763 Hungarian adults for an online survey and also asked them to take a series of intelligence tests. The tests were aimed at assessing two different aspects of cognition. One of the tests was designed to evaluate “crystalized intelligence” by testing the participant's vocabulary, while a digit symbol test was used to measure “fluid intelligence.” They were also asked to complete a "Celebrity Attitude Scale questionnaire" to determine their scale of celebrity obsession.
The celebrity questionnaire classified people into three following categories:
First were the “entertainment-social” fans whose interest in celebrity culture was limited to just discussing it with friends.
The next category — “intense-personal” — are people who compulsively thought about celebrities, their worlds, and interpersonal relationships.
The highest categorization — “borderline-pathological” —involves people who agreed with statements such as “if I were lucky enough to meet my favorite celebrity, and he/she asked me to do something illegal as a favor I would probably do it.” This answer highlighted a disregard for the impact of personal actions and the consequences that followed.
The researchers also assessed the participants’ material wealth and self-esteem to see if there was a correlation between it and their involvement in celebrity culture.
The researchers found that higher levels of celebrity obsession could be connected to reduced scores for both crystallized and fluid intelligence. Demographic factors such as higher material wealth and self-esteem were also connected to higher levels of celebrity obsession.
However, there was no indication that celebrity worship was the cause for a drop in cognitive capacities.
The researchers speculated the following outcomes of the study:
1) Celebrity obsession could possibly hinder cognitive capacities owing to the intense level of focus and attention required to maintain this “one-sided emotional bond.”
2) Those with higher levels of intelligence may be less likely to worship celebrities due to their ability to recognize “marketing strategies behind a famous person.”
The study did note that cognitive effort put into maintaining the absorption in a celebrity may interfere with other tasks that require "attention and focus." However, the study concluded that more research was required to determine whether celebrity obsession is the cause or consequence of lower intelligence.
"Celebrity worship can be regarded as one contributing factor that may alter cognitive performance beside — and independent from — education, age and material wealth, although other factors may be stronger predictors of cognitive performance," noted the study. "It may be concluded that cognitive performance is slightly altered when higher celebrity worship levels are expressed, although cognitive skills seem to be largely independent of celebrity admiration."
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