Study: Celebrity-Obsessed People Are Less Intelligent

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MAY 07: (L-R) Don Cheadle, George Clooney and Matt Damon pose
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New research from a Hungarian study has found that celebrity-obsessed people are less intelligent, as they perform lower on cognitive tests than those with lower levels of celebrity worship.

A study published in BMC Psychology late last year concluded that “there is a direct association between celebrity worship and poorer performance on the cognitive tests that cannot be accounted for by demographic and socioeconomic factors.”

The study asked 1,763 Hungarian adults to complete two intelligence subtests — one a vocabulary test and the other a digit symbol substitution test — before completing a questionnaire, titled, “Celebrity Attitude Scale” to determine their levels of interest in celebrities.

The study also recorded each participant’s material wealth, current family income, and general socio-demographics.

To gauge their levels of celebrity interest, participants answered whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements, including, “I often feel compelled to learn the personal habits of my favorite celebrity,” and “I am obsessed by details of my favorite celebrity’s life,” according to a report by PsyPost.

Kylie Jenner and Kendall Jenner attend The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2019 in New York City. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

US singer Taylor Swift speaks onstage during the Z100’s iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York on December 13, 2019. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Another statement on the questionnaire read, “If I were lucky enough to meet my favorite celebrity, and he/she asked me to do something illegal as a favor I would probably do it.”

The results found that “linear regression models indicated that celebrity worship was associated with lower performance on the cognitive tests even after controlling for demographic variables, material wealth and self-esteem, although the explanatory power was limited.”

The researchers, however, said that it remains unclear whether celebrity-obsessed people perform poorly on cognitive tests because they are using their brainpower to think about famous people, or if they are fixated on celebrities because they are less intelligent to begin with.

“Future studies should seek further support for our suggestion that the cognitive effort invested in maintaining the absorption in a favorite celebrity may interfere with the person’s performance in tasks that require attention and other cognitive skills,” the researchers told PsyPost.

“Although our research does not prove that developing a powerful obsession with one’s favorite celebrity causes one to score lower on cognitive tests, it suggests that it might be wise to carefully monitor feelings for one’s favorite celebrity, keeping in mind that most celebrities are human beings who have some flaws just like average persons have,” they added.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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