Social-Psychological Explanations of the Attraction of 'Celebrity'

AO1 explanations for the attraction of celebrities including Parasocial Relationships and the Absorption-Addiction Model with relevant AO2 points

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  • Created on: 13-12-12 16:46
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Social-Psychological Explanations of the Attraction
of `Celebrity'
AO1 - Parasocial Relationships
A parasocial relationship is one in which an individual is
attracted to another individual (usually a celebrity), but the
target individual is unaware of the person who has created the
relationship ­ Horton and Wohl (1956)
These relationships might be particularly appealing to some
individuals because they make few demands, and do not run the
risk of criticism or rejection (unlike in a real relationship) ­ Ashe
& McCutcheon (2001)
Schiappa et al (2007) conducted a meta-analysis of parasocial
studies and concluded that Parasocial relationships were most
likely to form with TV celebrities who were seen as attractive and
similar in some way to the viewer.
Another important factor appeared to be that the celebrities
were perceived as `real' or that they acted in a believable way.
Schiappa et al believed that if the celeb acted in this way, viewers
were able to compare how they would behave in similar
Many pieces of research have found that parasocial relationships
are particularly prevalent in adolescents, however Schiappa et al
found no evidence of age being a predictor of their development.
AO2 ­ Parasocial Relationships
Name: One weakness of this explanation is that there are
methodological issues associated with some of the research used to
support this theory.
Explain & Apply: For example, the individual studies that make up
Schiappa et al's (2007) meta-analysis may have suffered from
issues such as researcher bias and sampling issues, however these
issues will not be considered due to the fact it is a meta-analysis.

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This can lead to issues with the internal validity of the study. Also,
meta-analyses often suffer from the "file-drawer problem", which is
where researchers only include pieces of research that will support
their hypothesis and ignore any research that yields negative
results or contradicts their hypothesis.
The effect of this is that published studies may not be truly
representative of all valid studies actually undertaken, leading to
publication bias.…read more

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McCutcheon et al created this model in 2002.
It proposes that most people never go beyond admiring
celebrities for their entertainment or social value.
However, the motivational forces that drive this absorption
may eventually become addictive, leading the person to more
extreme (and sometimes delusional) behaviours in order to
sustain satisfaction with the parasocial relationship.
Giles & Maltby (2006) identified 3 levels in this process:
1.…read more

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AO2 ­ Absorption-Addiction Model
Name: It has been suggested that there is a link between
mental health and the 3 levels of the Absorption-Addiction
Explain: For example, Maltby et al (2003) used the Eysenck
Personality Questionnaire to assess the relationship between
levels of celebrity worship and personality. It was found that
`Entertainment-Social' level was associated with extraversion,
and `Intense-Personal' level was associated with neuroticism.…read more


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