Evolutionary explanations into the attraction of celebrity gossip theory

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Media psychology
Evolutionary explanations into the attraction of celebrity: gossip theory
The exchange of social information about other group members might have been
adaptive for our ancestors when they started living in larger groups. This gossip
has been suggested to create bonds within social groups and serves as a adaptive
function by maintaining alliances. Gossip also constructs and manipulates the
reputations of rivals and is used to exchange relevant information about those
potential mates. However, we also talk about people we see through the media as
we see media characters as members of our social network. Therefore celebrities
trigger those same gossip mechanisms that have evolved to keep is up to date with
the affairs of in group members.
/ De backers study
Surveyed 800 Belgian participants with interviews and questionnaires. The results
show that the celebrity gossip appears to offer a mechanism by which we can learn
behaviours vicariously. Especially at a young age receivers of media gossip are
interested because they can learn from what celebrities do to achieve prestige.
Adolescents love gossip about highly recognized international celebrities to learn
about their success. Reasons for this might be that older individuals have more
experiences stored in their memory and have a lower urge to acquire experiences
through gossip. Also older individuals are relatively less lower status than
celebrities and night not care as much about their doings than younger people,
more of whom have a lower status than celebrities. However, interest in media
gossip doesn't completely disappear. Also elderly people consume media gossip
quite often as they have a lack of real life social contacts. For them, the
parasocial hypothesis explains why they consume media gossip. They also use media
gossip to maintain the real life contacts. This supports gossip theory as it shows
that younger people are more attracted to celebrities so they can learn from their
experiences. However the results cannot be generalised to other populations as
only Belgian participants were used so it lacks population validity. It also shows
that other things can influence gossip theory. Also people can lie on questionnaires
and in interviews due to them wanting to fit in with societies expectations (social
desirability bias).
Cultural differences (Davis and McLeod)
Did a meta analysis of 736 news stories and ordered them thematically into 12
categories and the categories were linked to survival. They found that it was the

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Media psychology
same in most countries. This supports the model as it shows the model accounts for
cultural differences.
Levin and Arlakes
There results showed that women spent more time to gossip about other people
(71% of women's conversations were gossip related compared to 64% of mens).
This gender difference is not explained by gossip theory.…read more


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