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Flashcards in Celebrity Deck (30):

What is a celebrity?

A person of distinction or fame


Social psychological explanations of celebrity attraction

Celebrities act as role models because we identify with them. They are also a source of vicarious reinforcement


Social psychological explanations of celebrity attraction (groups)

1. Social identity theory - membership of fan clubs and shared admiration for certain celebrities contributed to our social identity. The attraction of celebrity is that it is a means to define your social group and therefore yourself
2. Group cohesion - celebrities provide a common topic to talk about that helps build up social networks. It is safer to gossip about celebrities than about the people you know.
3. Leadership - groups of people search for leaders, and celebrities may fulfil that function


People may form parasocial relationships with relationships (socio cultural exp)

Over time a parasocial relationship can develop between viewers and characters of the media; the viewer can become interested in aspects of the character's life. This relationship is usually one sided as the celebrity often doesn't know the fan exists


What determines the likelihood of a parasocial relationship?

Schiappa carried out a meta analysis and found that parasocial relationships tended to be with celebrities who were seen as attractive and similar in some way to the viewer.


Absorption addiction model

Maltby identified three different types of celebrity worship

1. Entertainment social - keeping up with news about them
2. Intense personal -intense feeling (considering them to be their soul mate)
3. Borderline pathological - uncontrollable fantasies. Somebody claiming they would die for their favourite celebrity and their celebrity would be pleased to see them


Absorption addiction model links to mental health

Maltby found that the intense personal levels was associate with neuroticism, this trait links with depression so it explains why those who display high levels of celebrity worship have poorer mental health


Evaluation of para social relationships

Having a parasocial relationship isn't particularly bad. There is little chance of face to face contact and rejection
According to derrick et al - such relationships can allow people with low self esteem to see themselves in a better light


Problems with celebrity attraction research

- self reports
- cultural bias - most research is westernised


Support for social learning

Maltby found young girls who looked up yo thin celebrities were more likely to develop anorexia


Evolutionary explanations

Miller suggests that sexual selection underlies the evolution of creative intelligence. Celebrities often display creative talents and represent a world of fantasy and so become attractive. Females are inclined to select males who are most entertaining and interesting - this can support how the attraction of celebrities is explained


Further evolutionary explanations

Being boring towards a partner makes attraction a failure. Miller states, a creative and entertaining mind can have benefits. Thus celeb attractiveness is achieved through traits such as how creative and entertaining they may be. Evolution seems to have singled out these traits as important for securing a mate. And as a result, we aspire to imitate celebrities for the reproductive advantage


Support for evolutionary explanations

Townsend found both sexes agreed that males' sexual attractiveness depended not then females' sexual attractiveness on their status.


Evolutionary theory - Gossip

We have a celeb fascination because they are a rich source of gossip. Gossip appears universal in human being as we all love taking about others. Shared secrets and gossip helps bond social groups. It gives individuals with no status or power an opportunity to feel involved and be socially successful in the environment


Support for gossip

Dunbar suggests that gossip has evolved in humans for the same reasons as grooming in primates as its a route to social communication and helps bonding


Problems with evolutionary explanations

Biased - homosexual


Intense fandom is

Celebrity worship and stalking


Celebrity worship

Celebrity worship is measured using Maltby's celebrity attitude scale
Found that in a sample of 372 people aged 18/47
15% were entertainment social
5% intense personal
2% borderline pathological


Celebrity worship and well being

Maltby conducted that celebrity worshippers have lower levels of psychological well being than non worshippers
Data from 307 U.K. adults identified that scored on the intense personal subscale predicted both depression and anxiety scores, which they concluded resulted from failed attempts to escape from the pressures of every day life


Celebrity worship and self esteem

Cheung + Yue also found that teenagers who worshipped key family members or teachers tended to demonstrate higher levels of self esteem and educational achievement than teenagers who worshipped TV stars
Admiration of those who provide tangible benefits and inputs to the adolescents' lives would be more likely to provide a greater positive impact than those celebrities with won they enjoy only a parasocial relationship


Negative consequences of celebrity worship

Phillips has shown that high profile celeb studies are often followed by increased numbers of suicides among the general population



Stalking involves repeated and persistent attempts to impose unwanted communication and contact on another person
Celebrity stalking constitutes only around 1% of stalking cases


There are 2 types of stalkers

One develops a love obsession with someone they've never met. These people suffer from delusional thought

The second type is more common and is distinguished by a previous personal relationship that exists before the stalker behaviour began


Theories of stalking

Attachment theory
Suggests that early attachment problems can lead to social and emotional problems later in adulthood

Absorption addiction
A weak sense of identity in people will lead them to be absorbed with a celebrity and develop closeness with him or her. This produces a state of addiction where the individual craves greater closeness to their celebrity and indulges in delusional forms of behaviour


Support for attachment theory of stalking

Tonin measured stalkers childhood attachment styles and their current adult attachment using self report measured. She found that stalkers had more insecure adult attachment styles which suffers childhood determinism

Research has also found a positive correlation between insecure resistant attachment types and attempts at contacting favourite celebrities


Support for absorption addiction model of stalking

Mullen striker 20,000 cases of stalking involving members or the Royal family and found that 80% had serious mental health disorders. Indicated a link between stalking and a confused sense of identity


Relational goal pursuit theory of stalking

People who engage in the obsessional pursuit of relationship that is rejected by the other person tend to magnify the importance of their relationship goal
Fans constantly think about the unmet goal and the thoughts become more unpleasant. Excess pursuit behaviour are rationalised and negative consequences not recognised


Celebrity stalking may become more common because of

Cyber stalking (sending unwanted texts and emails)
Fisher and Cullen surveyed 4000 female undergraduate and found that 13% had been cyberstalked


Criticisms of cyberstalking

Alex's et al gave students brief descriptions of a real life case of cyberstalking. This case resulted in prosecution but only 30% of the students judged the behaviour to be dangerous


Religiosity and celebrity culture

There seems to be a link between the decline in religious worship and increasing fascination with celebrity culture. According to schumaker "humans have a fundamental need to worship" this shift in faith is illustrated by the fact that over 390000 people stayed their religion as Jedi in the UK 2001 census