Study Suggests Celebrity Worship Linked to Lower Cognitive Abilities


A recent study published in the journal BMC Psychology indicates that individuals who are deeply obsessed with celebrities tend to perform worse on cognitive tests.

However, it’s not entirely clear whether this fascination with celebrities leads to lower intelligence or if individuals with lower intelligence are more likely to become obsessed with celebrities.

Details of the Study

Researchers conducted an extensive online survey involving 1,763 Hungarian adults.

The participants were asked to complete a series of intelligence tests aimed at evaluating two different aspects of cognition:

  1. Crystalized Intelligence: This was assessed through vocabulary tests to measure the participants’ accumulated knowledge and verbal abilities.
  2. Fluid Intelligence: This was measured using a digit symbol test, which evaluates the ability to solve new problems, use logic in new situations, and identify patterns.

In addition to the intelligence tests, participants completed the Celebrity Attitude Scale questionnaire, which helped determine their level of obsession with celebrities.

Based on their responses, participants were categorized into three levels of celebrity worship:

  • Entertainment-Social Fans: These individuals enjoy discussing celebrities and their lives with friends.
  • Intense-Personal Fans: These participants exhibit compulsive thinking about celebrities, often forming a strong emotional attachment.
  • Borderline-Pathological Fans: This group includes individuals who might agree to do something illegal if requested by their favorite celebrity, indicating an extreme level of obsession.

The researchers also collected data on each participant’s material wealth and self-esteem to control for these variables in their analysis.

Key Findings

The study revealed that higher levels of celebrity obsession were associated with lower scores in both crystalized and fluid intelligence.

This correlation held true even when accounting for other demographic factors such as age, education, and material wealth.

However, the study’s linear regression models did not provide evidence that celebrity worship directly causes a decline in cognitive abilities.

This leaves the nature of the relationship between celebrity obsession and lower intelligence somewhat ambiguous.

Speculations and Theories

The study authors propose several theories to explain their findings.

One possibility is that the intense focus and emotional investment required to maintain an obsession with celebrities might detract from cognitive resources, thereby impairing cognitive performance.

Another theory is that individuals with higher intelligence may be less susceptible to celebrity worship because they are better able to see through the marketing and promotional tactics used by celebrities and their handlers.


Despite the intriguing findings, the researchers caution that more studies are needed to determine whether celebrity obsession is a cause or a consequence of lower intelligence.

They summarize that while celebrity worship might be a factor that affects cognitive performance, it is likely just one of many factors, with education, age, and material wealth potentially playing more significant roles.