Toward understanding the fame game: The effect of mortality salience on the appeal of fame

Jeff Greenberg, Spee Kosloff, Sheldon Solomon, Florette Cohen, Mark Landau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although the appeal of fame in society seems to be increasing, experimental research has yet to examine the motivations that may underlie this apparent appeal. As a first step toward doing so, we conducted three studies to assess whether concerns with mortality play a role in these phenomena. Based on terror management theory and research, we hypothesized that reminders of death would increase people's desire for fame and admiration of celebrities. In Study 1, mortality salience led participants to report greater desire for fame. In Study 2, mortality salience produced greater interest in having a star in the galaxy named after oneself. In Study 3, mortality salience increased liking for abstract art when it was attributed to a celebrity. These findings suggest that the appeal of fame is based in part on the desire for symbolic continuance beyond death. Discussion focused on the implications of these findings and remaining issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalSelf and Identity
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Keywords

  • Celebrity
  • Fame
  • Symbolic immortality
  • Terror management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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