The psychology of 'Celebrity PSYA4

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A01- Attraction of Celebrity

Social Psychological Explanations

  • Parasocial relationships (PR)- individual attracted to celebrity even though celebrity is unaware.
  • Because of this, no risk of criticisms or rejection.
  • Formed with those seen as attractive and similar- raises self-esteem.
  • Allows person to imagine how they would act in similar situations.
  • Absoroption-addiction model- three levels of attraction:
    • Entertainment social- attracted to fav celeb and entertained by learning about them
    • Intense-personal- reflects very intense feelings, 'consider them sole mate'
    • Borderline pathological- uncontrollable fantasies about celeb, would they be happy to see me

Evolutionary Explanations

  • Human beings possess love of novelty, creative partners. (neophillia)
  • Would have led to neophilia (creative) as criterion for female choice and so evolution of these characteristics in males (sexual selection)
  • Celebs represent the creative world so we are attracted to them.
  • Exchange of social information useful for ancestors.
  • No distinction between social network and familiar media, hence celeb gossip.
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A02- Evaluation

Social-Psychological Explanations

  • Research does not support idea that PR are dysfunctional (Schiappa)
  • PR offer benefits of models of behaviour and reduction in uncertainty over social relationships.
  • Intense-personal level associated with neuroticism, borderline-pathological associated with psychoticism.
  • PR with celebrities preceived as slim may lead to poor body image.
  • Link with attachment theory- anxious attachment style and PR.

Evolutionary Explanations

  • Shiraishi et al- genetic variations of MAOA enzyme associated with preferences for neophilia.
  • Sexual Selection explanations arbitrary- do not explain why these traits were attractive to ancestors.
  • De Backer- survey proveds support that celebrities misperceived as part of social network, explaining interest in gossip.
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A03- IDAs

  • Experiments V Self reports- most reports have used asking people on opinions of celebs may be more effective indeterming the causes of identification with a celeb.
  • Attachment stype and Parasocial relationships- Researchers have explained why some people are more vulnerable to the formation of parasocial relationships through the concept of attachment style.Cole and Lees reported that individuals with anxious-ambivalant attachment were most likely and avoidant individuals least likely to enter parasocial relationships.
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A01- Intense Fandom

Celebrity Worship

  • Measured using the 'Celebrity Attitude Scale'- produced three levels of Parasocial relationships. (Excitement social, Intense-Personal, Boarderline Pathological)
  • Maltby found that one-third of sample scored above midpoint of  the scale although most scored at the entertainment-social phase.
  • Celebrity Worship associated with lower levels of academic work and lower levels of physiological well-being.
  • Parasocial bereavement experienced after death of celebrity.

Celebrity Stalking

  • Love-obsessional stalkers- many suffer from delusional thought patterns, retreating to fantasy world.
  • Simple-obsessional stalkers- distinguished by previous relationship with target.
  • Bartholomew and Horowitz found pre-occupied attachment style linked to celebrity stalking.
  • Meloy found that the pre-occupied attachment style = low self-esteem and overevaluation of others.
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A02- Evaluation

Celebrity Worship

  • Higher self-esteem experienced if 'worship' towards those who provide positive impact on persons life.
  • Negative consequences of celebrity worship - copying bad or suicidal behaviour of celebrities
  • Adaptive for individuals to look up to those who receive attention for being successful.
  • Celebrity stalking may be indicadive of underlying psychopathology.

Celebrity Stalking

  • Impact of stalking includes development of anti-stalking legislation.
  • Tonin found that stalkers show more evidence of insecure attachment styles.
  • Roberts found that individuals with low self-esteem and motivated to approach other more prone to stalking.
  • Implications for police profiling and clinical intervention.
  • Mullen indentified five types of stalker, each linked to a different form of psychopathology.
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A03- IDAs

  • Cultural Bias- only based on western celebrities and western media in other cultures which have a watershed on media this may be different and therefore cant be generalised to them.
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