If you like keeping up with the Kardashians and love the drama of Bigg Boss, we might have some bad news for you.
In a study that has raised a few eyebrows, researchers have spilled the tea on the connection between intelligence and the obsession with celebrities. Those who live and breathe the latest celebrity drama might be “less intelligent” by trading smarts for star-studded stories.
The study, published in BMC Psychology last year, saw researchers ask 1763 Hungarian adults to go through a series of tests, which included a 30-word vocabulary test, a digit symbol substitution test, and a questionnaire on their attitudes towards celebrities. The results concluded that individuals with higher cognitive abilities tended to display less interest in the personal lives of public figures, while those with lower intelligence scores were more likely to be fascinated with celebrities.
However, researchers admitted that it was tricky to determine whether celebrity fans scored poorly because they only thought of stars or were simply less intelligent than their peers.
The study comes at a time when parasocial relationships (one-sided relationships that people develop with celebrities or fictional characters) have become common in a world driven by social media. Another study earlier linked celebrity obsession to addictive and problematic social media use. But what prompts our love affair with celeb drama? Is there a cure for FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) in the latest Hollywood gossip?
Even if the study can not conclusively claim any correlation between celebrity worship and intelligence, it raises pertinent concerns. The researchers told PsyPost in a joint statement: “Future studies should seek further support for our suggestion that the cognitive effort invested in maintaining the absorption in a favourite celebrity may interfere with the person’s performance in tasks that require attention and other cognitive skills.
Although our research does not prove that developing a powerful obsession with one’s favourite celebrity causes one to score lower on cognitive tests, it suggests that it might be wise to carefully monitor feelings for [them].”