In the News
Your Celeb Fix May Be More than Fun
Study shows celeb gawking may improve self-esteem
-Julie Ryan Evans
We know that as a society, were more obsessed with celebrities than ever. Everywhere we turn, they’re a part of our products, our news and our daily conversations. But why? Why do we care about what these people – most of whom we’ll never meet – say, do, eat, think? What do we get from all of the energy we pour into following them?
Turns out, our celebrity fixations could be making us feel better about ourselves. Time recently ran an article citing research that says that, when it comes to our self-esteem, there may some positive effects of worshipping celebrities.
Researcher Shira Gabriel, a psychologist at the University of Buffalo, did a series of three studies on the subject. She found that after writing about their favorite celebrities, participants scored higher on self-esteem questionnaires.
“Because people form bonds in their mind with their favorite celebrities, they are able to assimilate the celebrity’s characteristics in themselves and feel better about themselves when they think about that celebrity,” Gabriel reasoned. “And that is something these individuals can’t do in real relationships because of their fear of rejection keeps them from getting close to people.”
And as Time author Alice Park states: “There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that the human brain is not well equipped to distinguish between real, and, as psychologists call them, ‘parasocial,’ or imagined relationships. That means that some of the benefits that people get from pseudo-relationships with celebrities may be the same as those reaped from real friendships and real-life interactions. It’s just a matter of degree.”
Other research shows that worshipping celebs can be harmful, become excessive and even become pathological. And, let’s face it, sometimes it’s just creepy and sad.
So we’re certainly not recommending that you put your stalking stockings on, but it’s nice to know that we can justify our obsession with The Hills, our passion for Perez or our anticipation each week for Us Weekly‘s arrival in our mailbox.