Study finds link between celebrity worship, lower intelligence

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A study conducted by some Hungarian researchers has linked obsession with celebrities and lower intelligence.

The study, published in BMC Psychology late 2021, asserts that “there is a direct association between celebrity worship and poorer performance on cognitive tests” measuring both literacy and numeracy.

The study asked 1,763 Hungarian adults to undertake a 30-word vocabulary test and a digit symbol substitution test, before completing a “Celebrity Attitude Scale” questionnaire to determine their levels of interest in famous people.

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Participants had to answer “yes” or “no” to a series of statements on the Celebrity Attitude Scale, including: “I often feel compelled to learn the personal habits of my favorite celebrity” and “I am obsessed by details of my favorite celebrity’s life.”

Another yes-or-no statement read: “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.”

Researchers found that high scores on the Celebrity Attitude Scale correlated with lower performance on the two cognitive ability tests.

However, the researchers were unable to determine whether celebrity obsessives perform poorly on cognitive tests because they used their brainpower thinking about A-listers, or whether they were fixated on Hollywood gossip because they were already less intelligent to begin with.

The researchers called “future studies” to support “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”.

 

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