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Outline and Evaluate Evoloutionary Explanations of "The Attraction of Celebrity" (4+Marks)

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By Beckbeck
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Evolutionary explanations of “Attraction to celebrity” (4+6 marks)
Evolutionary explanations suggest behaviour exists today because it once brought us survival and reproductive advantages. One explanation suggests that in order to be reproductively successful, our ancestors would have put on increasingly creative displays for future mates, thus creativity is attractive and highly valued today. Therefore our love of celebrities-who typically possess these highly creative traits-, is an extensive of our love for these creative characteristics.
In support of the attraction to creative individuals, Darwin suggests neophilla was important in the rapid evoloution of the bird song, with females being attracted to males with the more complex songs; however there may be issues with generalising this animal research to humans, weakening its external validity. In further support for an evolved love of creativity, Shiraishi et al discovered that a variation of the enzyme MAOA was significantly correlated with higher scores of novelty seeking, suggesting there may be a genetic origin for neophilia and our love of creative people.
Another evolutionary explanation suggests that in our ancestral environment, it was advantageous to know everything about those around you. However, because celebrities are a recent occurrence, we have not been prepared to distinguish between them and those around us, so we gossip about them as if they were an important part of our lives.
In support of this, DeBacker points out that gossip serves a similar function to social grooming; it initiates and maintains alliances. He also points out that celebrity gossip does this more efficiently as it is not necessarily a one to one exchange; thereby allowing large social networks to form.
A fundamental issue with these evolutionary explanations is their lack of falsifiability, which arguably means they have limited scientific value and weaken psychologies claim to be a science. Furthermore, persuasive evidence points to the importance of experiences in the development of these behaviours, which contradicts the evolutionary claim that attraction to celebrity is innate.…...

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