Saturday, April 25, 2009

Celebrity Obsession: Part of our DNA?

It may turn out that our obsession with celebrities and our constant need to want to know what their doing could be more than skin deep. When a set of monkeys at Duke University weren't given as much water as they usually are allowed during a regular day and were given the choice between their favorite juice and seeing a picture of a dominant "celebrity" monkey, they almost always opted for the picture of the other monkey. The monkeys also had the same reaction when they were offered to see a photo of the opposite sexes sexual organs. This was an experiment to study social mechanics and also to try and understand "how the brain acquires and processes visual information about social status." ( This was pretty fascinating to me because it would explain one aspect of why we as humans are so attracted to celebrities. Even more interesting is that despite their thirst and at the risk of dehydration the monkeys would rather see the picture of the dominant monkey and had to be bribed with extra juice to look at pictures of monkeys that were seen as lower on the social ladder.

Another thing to look at aside from difference species is different culture. It's always interesting to hear what people have to say when they return from studying abroad or taking a trip. I found a short article by a college student from California State University and she noticed that while she was abroad in France that her supply of celebrity gossip magazines was much leaner than here in the states. This raised questions about why our cultures were so different. ( This also made me think about what my friends who had studied in the UK said about how into the celebrity gossip that the English were. The UK tabloids were much worse than what we have in the states because they're not as censored and nudity among other things are allowed to be printed however, I haven't experienced this first hand. A pretty good example of this would be the United Kingdoms long running reality show, Big Brother. The states had their own version of this show but I don't believe it faired as well as it did in the UK which is now on it's 7th season.

Embedding is disabled so I can only do a link but you kind of get the idea:

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