Posted at 4:01 PM on November 3, 2008
by Sanden Totten
Psychology Today gathered some of the latest research on how celebrities effect our mental state. The studies suggest that thinking about important cultural icons, like Oprah or Lance Armstrong, may actually reduce one's fear of death.
One experiment found that people believe airplanes are less likely to crash if a well respected celebrity is on board (despite plenty of examples to the contrary). Another showed that people who have death on the mind tend to think celebrities are more important and will be remembered longer than do people in a neutral group. The theory here is that when we are worried about the limits of our own mortality, we tend to put our faith in the celebrities we admire, imagining that our beliefs and values will live on in their legacy.
As an added boost, celeb gossip is like an instant Valium: "It is widely known for humans that chocolate stimulates the release of endorphins, and therefore eating chocolate stimulates feelings of happiness. Gossip is [also] an instant stimulator of endorphins."