Transforming Celebrity Objects: Implications for an Account of Psychological Contagion

The celebrity effect is the well-documented phenomenon in which people ascribe an enhanced worth to artefacts owned by famous individuals. This effect has been attributed to a belief in psychological contagion, the transmission of a person’s essence to an object via contact. We examined people’s jud...

Full description

Saved in:
Bibliographic Details
Main Authors: Marchak, Kristan A.; Hall, D. Geoffrey (Author)
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Check availability: HBZ Gateway
Journals Online & Print:
Drawer...
Published: 2017
In:Journal of cognition and culture
Year: 2017, Volume: 17, Issue: 1/2, Pages: 51-72
Further subjects:B artefact / celebrity object / identity / persistence / psychological contagion / value
Online Access: Volltext
Description
Summary:The celebrity effect is the well-documented phenomenon in which people ascribe an enhanced worth to artefacts owned by famous individuals. This effect has been attributed to a belief in psychological contagion, the transmission of a person’s essence to an object via contact. We examined people’s judgments of the persisting worth of celebrity-owned artefacts following transformations of their parts/material and found that the celebrity effect was evident only for post-transformation artefacts that were composed of parts/material that had direct physical contact with the celebrity. Insofar as the celebrity effect arises from psychological contagion, the findings suggest that the essence imparted to a celebrity-owned artefact is conceived as akin to a residue deposited in/on the object rather than a germ capable of spreading in an indirect manner to new parts/material added to the object. The results illuminate the nature of psychological contagion and offer insight into how best to preserve the value of historically important artefacts.
ISSN:1568-5373
DOI:10.1163/15685373-12342191
Persistent identifiers:DOI "10.1163/15685373-12342191"