The research was conducted using a survey of 1,763 adults who completed a series of tasks, including a 30-word vocabulary test and a digit symbol substitution test.
They also completed a “celebrity attitude scale” questionnaire created in order to establish how interested they were in famous people.
The questionnaire required people to answer simply “yes” or “no” to a series of statements.
These included: “I often feel compelled to learn the personal habits of my favorite celebrity”, “I am obsessed by details of my favorite celebrity’s life”, and “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 researchers concluded that those who scored highest on the celebrity attitude scale also had lower performances on the two cognitive ability tests.
However, they acknowledged they could not say whether an obsession with celebrity culture was a either a cause or a consequence of having lower cognitive abilities.
“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 [them].”