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Ayisha J

on 27 April 2014

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Social-Psychological Explanations
Parasocial relationships
parasocial relationship
is one in which an individual is attracted to another individual (usually a celebrity) but target individual is unaware of existence of person who has created the relationship (Horton and Wohl 1956). Such relations are common within celebrities and their fans. Such relation doesn't have the risk of criticism or rejection which might be possible in real life relations (Ashe and McCutcheon 2001).
What determines the likelihood of a parasocial relationship?
Schiappa et al (2007) carried out a meta-analysis of studies of parasoaicl relationships. Concluded that PR were likely to form with TV celebrities who were seen as attractive and similar in a way to the viewer. Schiappa et al believed that if a celebrity acted in a believable way, viewers are able to compare how they would behave in similar situations.Schiappa et al found no evidence of age being a predictor of such relationships.
The Absorption-Addiction Model
According to this (McCutcheon et al 2002) most people don't go beyond admiring celebrities because of the celebrities social value. However the motivational force driving this absorption may eventually become addictive, leading to more extreme behaviours to sustain satisfaction with parasocial relationship they are developed. Giles and Maltby (2006) identified three levels in this process:
Entertainment social-fans are attracted to C because of their ability to entertain and to become social source of interaction and gossip.
Intense-personal-this aspect of C worship reflects intensive and compulsive feelings about C close to obsession.
Borderline-pathological-this dimension is typified by uncontrollable behaviours and fantasies about C.
Parasocial relationships
- it is believed that parasocial relations with C is dysfunctional (formed due to loneliness) research does not support this.Schiappa et al (2007) meta-analysis found loneliness was not a predictor of PR. Rather people who are more socially active are more likely to engage in PR (Sood and Rogers 2000).
Benefits of parasocial relationships
- they offer social benefits. They provide models of social behaviour and opportunity to learn cultural values (importance of marriage). Perse and Rubin's (1989) study of PR with soap opera characters, found that being exposed to same characters a benefit of parasocial interaction is a perceived reduction in uncertainty about social relations.
The absorption-addiction model
:links to mental health- Maltby et al (2003) used the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) to assess the relationship between level of CW and personality. Found that entertainment-social level linked with extraversion, intense-personal with neuroticism, this is related to anxiety and depression, provides clear explanation of why higher levels of CW are related to poorer mental health.
PR and eating disorders
- Maltby et al (2005) found evidence of a relationship between attitudes to celebrities and body image amongst female adolescents. This was strongest between 14-16 yrs suggests that PR with C are perceived as being slim which leads to poor body image leading to eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa/ bulimia nervosa.
Attachment style and PR
- Cole and Leets (1999) reported that individuals with anxious-ambivalent attachment were more likely and avoidant individuals least likely to enter PR. A-A attachment style turn to TV characters as a means of satisfying their unrealistic and unmet relational needs. A attachment find it hard to develop intimate relationships are less likely to seek real life or PR.
Evolutionary Explanations
Attraction to creative individuals
- humans possess a love of novelty (neophilia). For females choosing a mate would have led to a demand for even more creative displays from potential partners. Mate choice in the environment of evolutionary adaption (EEA) could have favoured creative courtship displays which would explain many characteristics that are universally and uniquely developed in humans (humor, music, art) (Miller 1998). C display these talents in abundance we are drawn to them. Miller (2000) argued that although natural selection favours development of skills that enhance survival, sexual selection favours minds prone to creativity and fantasy.
Celebrity gossip
- the exchanges of social information (gossip) about other group members may have been adaptive for ancestors when they started living in larger social groups. De Backer (2005) suggests that gossip creates bonds within social groups and severs same adaptive function to social grooming by initiating and maintaining alliances. It also helps exchange info of potential mates. Barkow (1992) suggests that our minds are fooled into regarding media characters as being members of our social network, thus C trigger same gossip mechanism that have evolved to keep up with the affairs of in-group members.
Evidence for an evolved love of creativity
- Shiraishi et al (2006) discovered an enzyme correlated with novelty seeking tendencies. Genetic differences means that people produce different variations of an enzyme called Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA). One form of this enzyme is associated with higher scores of novelty-seeking, suggesting genetic origin for neophilia and attraction to creative people.
The arbitrary nature of sexual selection explanations
- suggests attraction to creative people arose because early females preferred it in potential mates. Sexual selection explanations are arbitrary because they argue that such traits are preferred simply because they would have been attractive, these explanations do not provide an adequate adaptive reason to explain why such traits were seen as attractive in ancestors.
Research support for the adaptive role of celebrity gossip
- DeBacker (2007) surveyed over 800 pps to test evolutionary explanations for CG. Pps reported that gossip was seen as a useful way of acquiring information about social group members.
Carruthers (2002) suggests that creative talents are an indicator of intelligence and problem solving skills, both are highly valued skills in EEA. Dissanayake (1992) claims that individuals that could entertain through music, song and dance were highly valued members of the group are their talents were used in rituals, hence they would've been given privileges which would have enhanced their their genetic fitness. C are beautiful Orians (2001) and Thornhill (1998) suggest that high degrees of symmetry in human faces were believed to indicate reproductive and survival fitness.
Evolutionary explanation can be criticized for reducing everything to genetic success. Could be to do with social learning theory seeing C and their status, wealth, body, person wants to be like them (vicarious reinforcement).
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