Social psychological explanations into attraction of celebrity: social comparison theory

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Psychology unit 4 media revision
Social psychological explanations into attraction of celebrity
Social comparison theory
Description
As individuals we have the need to evaluate ourselves through comparisons to
others in society.
Downward comparisons are when we evaluate ourselves by comparing ourselves to
people who are worse than us in our personal opinion. This makes us feel better
about ourselves.
Upward comparisons are when we compare ourselves to those whom we aspire to be
like; we are attracted to celebrities as they represent the ideal person.
Evaluation
Shorter participants were given a questionnaire on eating attitude. They were
then asked who they aspired to be like. It was found that those who aspired to be
like celebrities had negative effects on eating attitude. This supports the idea
that we make upward comparisons.
Jones compared the influence of celebrities to peers in the age groups of 12-13
and 15-16 year olds in American high schools. They found that girls were
influenced more by friends in terms of weight. Boys were also influenced more by
friends in terms of personality and style. Therefore peers are more influential
than a celebrity, which undermines the theory as the theory says celebrities
represent the ideal person when making upward comparisons.
Explains the influence of celebrities as it says they are thought to represent
the ideal person
Doesn't show if peers or celebrities are more influential as it says we evaluate
ourselves to someone we aspire to be like. Whilst this is often a celebrity, it
doesn't mean that it can't be other people such as friends.
Doesn't say why we need to make social comparisons. Therefore we only get a
limited understanding of the reasons for attraction of celebrity from this theory.

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