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New Study: Celebrity worship and cognitive skills revisited by Lynn E. McCutcheon, Ágnes Zsila & Zsolt Demetrovics

What a fascinating study.

I’ve never personally understood celebrity worship. I’ve never understood why someone would hold another person’s talents and what they’ve managed to do with them in such regard that they go so far as to abandon all sense of self to pursue and peruse every little detail of that person’s life. Some people go so far as to even feel entitled to know all of this information, resulting in the breach of so many celebrity’s privacy. This voyeurism is contagious, breeding moments of virility, taking the participants on a roller coaster all from the comfort (or discomfort) of their current environment.

Enter the age of influencer culture, where now these celebrity likeness and people’s desire to be them are being manipulated and capitalized on by selling these already lost (and potentially less intelligent) people things they do not need, but feel they need because of this culture that has ensued as a result of this idolatry. As a result, these celebrities ascend mere mortality and become gods to their acolytes who will do anything and everything for the tiniest level of acknowledgement, validation, and accomplishment. These celebrities unwittingly  become cult leaders, but not because they set out to be, but because, by now, idolatry is so second nature to our culture.

On their platforms they sell the public the image they are portraying - as a means of survival, surely. Deemed “a necessary evil,” social media is but a tool to facilitate this voyeurism and now willful transgression of privacy that feels like par for the course if one ever plans to achieve a level of notoriety, no matter what area of work it may be in, it’s not just Hollywood anymore.

This is a topic I truly think about a lot. A major crux of much of my research. With my proximity to the world of celebrity and personal vehement rejection of anything inauthentic; simultaneously aware of the booming levels of “cringe”-worthy authenticity currently shaking the internet landscape in ways that can be seen as rife with opportunity for great success or great peril (if you do not play the game according to the rules of that day).

I often wonder what this world would look like if our relationship with these “visions of success” was healthier; if how we perceived success was more a personal experience than a public showing. As a woman who, since a young girl, has always been very prideful of her accomplishments, I’ve learned that keeping them to myself wields more power. Online is an open space for anyone to draw comparisons based on a final image, a breeding ground for jealousy and the two combined create a culture that perpetuates apathy and a lack of gratitude for what we do have, constantly chasing what someone else does.

How does emotional intelligence play a role in our cognitive function and more conventional definition of intelligence? How does this then translate into our society, culture and human experience?

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