Evolutionary explanations for celebrity attraction

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Evolutionary explanations of the attraction of celebrity

Preferences for creative individuals

A particular characteristic of humans is our love of novelty (known as “neophilia”). Before the arrival of television and computers, our ancestors would have had to amuse each other and neophilia would have led to evermore creative displays from potential mates. This would explain many of the characteristics that are universally and uniquely developed in humans, such as music, art and humour all of which are highly valued during mate choice (Miller 1998). We might, therefore explain our attraction to celebrities as an extension of our love for these characteristics. We are drawn to individuals who display these creative skills, and the magnification of such characteristics that are broadcast regularly into our living rooms makes our attraction to such figures even greater.

The mating mind (Miller 2000) claims that sexual selection through mate choice was important in human mental evolution; especially the more “self-expressive” aspects of human behaviour, such as art, humour and creativity. Miller argued that whereas natural selection might tend to favour minds with survival-enhancing skills, sexual selection might favour minds prone to inventing attractive, imaginative fantasies, the kinds of fantasy that nowadays we witness in the work of artists, film stars and musicians. Sexual selection, therefore, explain why most people prefer fiction to non-fiction and myth to scientific evidence. Celebrities represent this world of fantasy; therefore we are attracted to them because of their association with it.

Evaluation of attraction to creative individuals

Comparative evidence – Darwin (1871) argued that neophilia was an important factor in the diversification and rapid evolution


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