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People Who Are Obsessed With Celebrities Tend To Have Reduced Cognitive Abilities, Study Finds

by : Shola Lee on : 05 Jan 2022 08:55
People Who Are Obsessed With Celebrities Tend To Have Reduced Cognitive Abilities, Study FindsJake Paul/Kim Kardashian/Instagram

A new study has suggested that cognitive performance is slightly reduced in those who have higher levels of celebrity worship.

The study of 1,763 Hungarian adults was authored by Lynn E. McCutcheon, Ágnes Zsila, and Zsolt Demetrovics.

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During the study, participants completed a 30-word vocabulary test and a digit symbol substitution test, which assesses fluid intelligence.

Leonardo DiCaprio (Alamy)Alamy

In addition to this, the researchers also gathered data on participants’ self-esteem, family income, material wealth and level of education.

Levels of celebrity worship were measured using a questionnaire known as a Celebrity Attitude Scale, PsyPost reports.

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The participants were asked how much they agreed or disagreed with statements like: ‘I am obsessed by details of my favourite celebrity’s life’.

After accounting for demographic and socioeconomic variables, the researchers found those with high scores on the Celebrity Attitude Scale were associated with lower performance on the two cognitive tests used.

Billie Eilish (PA)PA Images

The authors of the study, published in BMC Psychology, said:

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We found a weak tendency for those who showed the strongest admiration for their favourite celebrity to have lower cognitive skills, suggesting that the earlier results were not due just to chance.

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Then, the authors explained how the results supported other studies on the topic.

They continued:

Our results also support previous findings showing that excessive behaviours such as celebrity worshiping can possibly impair cognitive functioning, presumably due to the increased focus and energy invested in this behaviour that becomes dominant in the individual’s life.

Although celebrity admiration seems not to be a strong precursor of poorer cognitive performance, high levels of admiration can be regarded as one contributing factor to lowered performance in tasks requiring cognitive effort, independently from education or age.

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However, whether celebrity worship is a cause or consequence of reduced cognitive ability is still up for debate.

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The authors speculated, ‘[It] may be that individuals with higher levels of cognitive skills are more likely to understand the marketing strategies behind a famous person,’ which suggests these individuals may be less susceptible to celebrity worship.

While the findings don’t outright prove the relation between low cognitive scores and high celebrity worship, the authors do warn to approach the issue with caution.

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‘Although our research does not prove that developing a powerful obsession with one’s favourite celebrity causes one to score lower on cognitive tests, it suggests that it might be wise to carefully monitor feelings for one’s favourite celebrity, keeping in mind that most celebrities are human beings who have some flaws just like average persons have,’ they said.

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Shola Lee

Shola Lee began her journalism career while studying for her undergraduate degree at Queen Mary, University of London and Columbia University in New York. She has written for the Columbia Spectator, QM Global Bloggers, CUB Magazine, UniDays, and Warner Brothers' Wizarding World Digital. Recently, Shola took part in the 2021 BAFTA Crew and BBC New Creatives programme before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories, and features.

Topics: Celebrity, Celebrities, Now, Psychology, Research

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PsyPost
  1. PsyPost

    People who are obsessed with celebrities tend to score lower on measures of cognitive ability