There is a biological reason why we are so obsessed with Celebrities. It’s primate. No, that’s not a typo for private, it’s truly primate. Let’s go back to our primate beginnings and explore the results of a recent test where a group of monkeys were given the option of eating sweet cherries or looking at photos of other monkeys. The photos specifically selected by the anthropologists conducting the test depicted attractive monkeys and monkeys within the primate group’s ranking who were perceived to be hierarchically dominant. Now, do you think the monkeys snatched and ate the cherries or stared at the photos? The suspense is overwhelming, right?
If you think the monkeys delayed eating the cherries in favor of looking at the photos, you know your monkey business. Monkeys have facial recognition skills and are also drawn to attractive and higher ranking hierarchical members of their group. So much so, they forwent eating the cherries. By the way, the monkeys weren’t hungry during the testing, the cherries were considered choice treats. The point is… since the monkeys weren’t hungry, they suppressed temptation to eat sweet treats in favor of looking at the photos. It displayed their desire to gaze at attractive, desirable and dominant members of their group. And so we, too, want to gaze at attractive, desirable and dominant members of our group, read about them, follow them, even obsess over them. The only difference? We don’t delay eating our cherries. While reading our favorite celebrity gossip blogs and Twitters or gazing at Instagrams we would rather combine noshing, chowing, crunching and slurping with our primate-based celeb obsession. It seems that human primates simultaneously indulge in both activities, eating treats and staring at celebs, as guilty pleasures.
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