The Psychology of Celebrity

Book

Why are we fascinated by celebrities we’ve never met? What is the difference between fame and celebrity? How has social media enabled a new wave of celebrities?

The Psychology of Celebrity explores the origins of celebrity culture, the relationships celebrities have with their fans, how fame can affect celebrities, and what shapes our thinking about celebrities we admire. The book also addresses the way in which the media has been and continues to be an outlet for celebrities, culminating in the role of social media, reality television, and technology in our modern society.

Drawing on research featuring real life celebrities from the Kardashians to Michael Jackson, The Psychology of Celebrity shows us that celebrity influence can have both positive and negative outcomes and the impact th...

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Fan studies in psychology: A road less traveled

Research Paper

by Gayle S. Stever, September 15, 2019

Transformative Works and Cultures, Vol. 30

This article describes the methods and materials used in my various studies of fan cultures in the years from 1988 to 2018. It delineates a mixed methods/multi-perspectivist approach and describes the process by which fan groups were selected and studied. Contrary to the concept of “aca-fan,” an academic who studies a fan group of which she or he is already a part, this article describes the engagement of a number of fan groups with whom I was not already involved. I traveled throughout North American and Europe in order to observe fan behavior across the lifespan and across a number of different cultures . Both pop star musicians’ fans and television fans were included...

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Theorizing Development of Parasocial Engagement

Research Paper

by Riva Tukachinsky, Gayle Stever, December 15, 2018

Communication Theory, Volume 29, Issue 3, August 2019, Pages 297–318

The article proposes a theoretical model of the development of parasocial relationships (PSRs) building on Knapp’s model of relationship development. Through synthesis of research across disciplines, the model conceptualizes the relational goals and parasocial interactions (PSIs) specific to the PSR. The model identifies variables that predict engagement at that level, describes the stage’s outcomes/effects, and considers the utility of existing measures to assess these stages. The conceptualization of PSRs as a dynamic process rather than intensity of a monolithic experience offers new directions worthy of empirical examination.

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Conference Paper: Theorizing development of parasocial experiences.

Conference Paper

by Riva Tukachinsky, Gayle S. Stever, May 2018

International Communication Association

The manuscript proposes an overarching theoretical model of parasocial experiences including parasocial interactions (PSIs), relationships (PSRs) and attachment (PSA). Building on Knapp’s model of relationship development, the model describes stages of media consumers’ development of PSRs with media figures from initiation (i.e., first encounter with the media persona) to integration (development of secondary attachment). Through synthesis of research across disciplines, the model conceptualizes the relational goals at each stage of the PSR, identifies variables that predict engagement at this level, and describes this stage’s outcomes/effects. PSIs specific to the PSR at each stage are discussed...

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Chapter: Social Media and Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development

Book chapter

by Lorraine Lander and Gayle S. Stever, September 2017

Handbook of Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development

The United Nations’ sustainable development goals cover a broad range of global problems and reaching those goals will require effort and education. Lifelong learning has become an essential part of modern life with rapidly changing technology, globalization, and increased urbanization, as well as environmental changes and the rise of green careers. Given the importance of sustainable development and global changes, it is important to identify effective ways of educating toward the UN’s goals...

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Conference Paper: Social Media and Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development

Conference Paper

by Lorraine Lander and Gayle S. Stever, March 2017

World Symposium on Lifelong Learning and Sustainable Development

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals cover a broad range of global problems and reaching those goals will require effort and education. Lifelong learning has become an essential part of modern life with rapidly changing technology, globalization, and increased urbanization, as well as environmental changes and the rise of green careers. Given the importance of sustainable development and global changes, it is important to identify effective ways of educating toward the UN’s goals...

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Chapter: Parasocial Theory: Concepts and Measures

Encyclopedia Chapter

by Gayle S. Stever, March 2017

The International Encyclopedia of Media Effects

Parasocial interaction (PSI) describes nonreciprocated audience interactions with media personae. These interactions are, in many ways, like face-to-face interactions with the caveat that the response normally expected from a social partner is missing. Parasocial theory describes and attempts to explain imagined social relationships and interactions with people who are distant from us and who do not reciprocate individual communication or interest...

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Chapter: Sage Encyclopedia of Psychology and Gender

Encyclopedia Chapter

by Gayle S. Stever, January 2017

Media has had an enormous impact on how gender and gender roles are perceived culturally. Media is generally understood to be a form of communication that is less direct than face-to-face communication, including a number of different media forms that influence and have been influenced by gender roles. These include, but are not limited to, television, advertising, animated media forms, video games, and books.

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Article : Meeting Josh Groban (Again): Fan/Celebrity Contact as Ordinary Behavior

Research Paper

by Gayle S. Stever, November 2016

In a participant-observer ethnographic study, the researcher offers evidence from 10 years of observation of the Josh Groban fandom as an example of fans becoming friendly acquaintances of celebrities. Contrary to the way much of the psychological literature depicts fans as celebrity worshippers or stalkers, the largest percentage of the fans observed in this study showed normal social engagement with others outside of their fan activity, and a friendly acquaintanceship with Groban that is similar to other kinds of relationships happening outside of the context of mediated relationships. Fans who pursued these relationships did so within a social context and network of other fans in most cases...

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Article: Evolutionary Theory and Reactions to Mass Media: Understanding Parasocial Attachment.

Research Paper

by Gayle S. Stever, March 2016

Forming attachments to those people proximal to the individual was the only option prior to mass media. In an era of mass media, individuals become acquainted with media personae, expanding greatly the pool of available attachment objects. This increases the possibility of a parasocial attachment, defined as a nonreciprocated attachment to a familiar other, and from whom one derives safe haven and felt security...

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