There are some fans who can’t get enough of their favorite celebrities. For many, devotion and obsession have blurred lines. Those in the latter group are less intelligent than non-celebrity worshippers, according to a recent study.
Published in November 2021 by BMC Psychology, a study of 1,763 Hungarian adults revealed that “there is a direct association between celebrity worship and poorer performance on the cognitive tests that cannot be accounted for by demographic and socioeconomic factors.”
Citing mixed findings in research which began more than 20 years ago, the study’s authors — Lynn E. McCutcheon, Ágnes Zsila, and Zsolt Demetrovics – set out to determine if there is in fact a correlation between celebrity worship and lower cognitive skills.
For the sake of this study, the researchers used study author McCutcheon’s definition of celebrity worship “as an increased admiration towards a famous person, which sometimes manifests in an excessive interest in the life of a celebrity.”
Using a cross-sectional design, the trio collected information from participants through four different tools. Each participant had to complete a vocabulary test, short digit symbol test, Celebrity Attitude Scale and Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale.
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The Celebrity Attitude Scale included statements such as: “I often feel compelled to learn the personal habits of my favorite celebrity;” “I am obsessed by details of my favorite celebrity’s life;” and “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.”
Participants were asked to agree or disagree with the statements.
McCutcheon, Zsila and Demetrovics also used as the basis of their study British-American psychologist Raymond Cattell’s two-factor intelligence theory, which posits that people have both fluid and crystallized intelligence.
After analyzing the data, the researchers said, “it is apparent that high scores on the CAS are associated with lower scores on various measures of cognitive ability.”
They were unclear, however, as to whether the lower cognitive scores were a cause or consequence of people being so obsessed with their favorite celebrities. Further study should be done on the topic, they said.
“Future studies should seek further support for our suggestion that the cognitive effort invested in maintaining the absorption in a favorite celebrity may interfere with the person’s performance in tasks that require attention and other cognitive skills,” the authors told PsyPost.
“Although our research does not prove that developing a powerful obsession with one’s favorite celebrity causes one to score lower on cognitive tests, it suggests that it might be wise to carefully monitor feelings for one’s favorite celebrity, keeping in mind that most celebrities are human beings who have some flaws just like average persons have,” the authors continued.
Some users on Twitter said they weren’t surprised by the outcome of the study. “Lol. I don’t think a study was needed to determine this,” @Brock2V wrote. “No kidding,” @RevanX_Official tweeted in response to the article.
More than a year before the study came out, @asticky1still tweeted the belief that those who worship celebrities were not so smart.
“People who worship celebrities tend to be less intelligent than the general population, and usually don’t have much to offer to the world,” @asticky1still tweeted on Oct. 21, 2020.
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