If you’ve ever made an impulse purchase, as many of us have at some point, you’ve undoubtedly berated yourself for your frailty. However, there could be more to your irresponsible purchasing than you realize, especially if you idolize celebrities. According to recent study, those of us who have an obsession with the wealthy and famous may be more likely to engage in impulsive buying. The researchers’ findings are reported in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. “Borderline pathological celebrity worship might positively predict impulsive purchase behavior,” the authors wrote. Additionally, empathy and gender both moderated and mediated the predicted impact.
More specifically, borderline pathological celebrity love was associated with higher levels of empathy and increased impulsive purchase intent. Men are more likely to have this impact than women. Star worship, which refers to an excessive sense of devotion to a celebrity, can be pathological or not. While non-pathological celebrity worshipers show a healthy excitement for their chosen star, pathological celebrity worship is obsessive.
The 1,319 study participants were asked to complete the Celebrity Attitude Scale questionnaire in order for the researchers to gauge how much they idolized famous people. Participants were asked to rate how strongly they agreed with phrases such “I would happily die to save the life of my favorite celebrity,” which were presented to them. Participants ranged in age from 16 to 30. They responded to identical questionnaires to determine their propensity for impulsive purchases and interpersonal reactivity, which served as a proxy for empathy.
The team discovered that borderline pathological celebrity adoration predicted impulsive purchasing behavior, as was expected. Empathy was a mediator in this interaction, while gender was a moderator. Higher degrees of empathy and impulsive purchase intent were typically found in those who were more obsessed with celebrities. Males experienced the effect more strongly than females. This is in line with earlier study, which discovered that decisions involving oneself or close friends and family are frequently made more impulsively.
“It may be assumed that people tend to make less logical, ideal, or well-planned judgments when emotions are present. Therefore, the authors argue in their article that significantly stronger empathy may be linked to more impulsive purchase intent. They go on to say that celebrity worship may have the unintended result of increasing our capacity for empathy: Some fans become so immersed in the careers of their favorite celebrities that they start to think of them as their own, feeling delighted when they succeed and sad when they fail.
In terms of how gender affected impulsive purchase, the study discovered that women exhibited considerably greater inclinations than males, even at levels of borderline pathological celebrity adoration. However, male levels of celebrity worship rose, and their propensity to make impulsive purchases surpassed those of women.
The study’s use of self-reporting questionnaires and the dearth of diverse individuals were also limitations. The authors note that this newly discovered relationship between idolatry of celebrities and impulsive spending “may impact daily consumer behavior substantially,” not simply with regard to the acquisition of celebrity-endorsed goods. So if you have a tendency to idolize your favorite celeb, use caution the next time you go shopping. You should also probably resist the impulse to get a coffee, just to be safe.