We like celebrity gossip, and so do a lot of people.
But you’re probably also pretty familiar with this situation: you’re at a party, discussing the week that was, and someone asks, “hey, did you hear about CELEBRITY?”
Then someone sighs and says something like, “guys, do we have to? There are children in Africa who don’t even have a CELEBRITY?”
Debbie Downer strikes again.
It’s not that you’re not interested in world affairs, but you also don’t mind indulging in a little Hollywood goss.
So what is a brain actually like on those juicy tidbits about A-list, B-list, C-list and D-list stars? Turns out, it’s actually pretty interesting.
According to a study in the journal Social Neuroscience, even when people claim to not be into gossip, their brains say otherwise. A group of researches had 17 students lie in a brain scanner while a clinician read bits of gossip about him or her, a friend or a celebrity.
Here’s what they found out: when they heard positive gossip, they liked it, and when they heard negative gossip, they only liked it when it was about their peers or celebrities. Well, duh.
But what’s actually very interesting is that despite the students claiming to not really get anything out of negative celebrity gossip, their brain scans said otherwise. Turns out, the part of the brain that responds to pleasure was firing on all cylinders.
And it goes even further, since neural activity in areas responsible for self-control also lit up, leading researchers to deduce that the students were trying to hide their pleasure. So, it looks like they felt so guilty that they actually had to try to conceal how happy they really were inside. Like someone who says they’ve never heard of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
To find out if the study is true for you, let’s test your will:
Step 1: Privately look at the magazine covers below
Step 2: Note how the headlines make you feel. Do you instinctively feel delight? Or are you busy wondering about how you’d present your thoughts to your friends? There’s no one around. How do you really feel? You don’t have a brain scanner, so you need to be honest about it.
Step 3: Don’t sweat your feelings. Do you enjoy it? If you do, there’s no harm in it. We love it, too. Everything can be good in moderation, so don’t feel so guilty about it. Think of how much energy you’ll save once you accept it!
If you still aren’t into it, that’s cool, too. The study didn’t say that no one could feel negatively about celebrity gossip. Just make sure you don’t put your friends down for getting a cheap thrill out of Brangelina’s latest kid or Kate’s latest sweatshirt. We all derive our pleasure from something.