The neuroscience of why dumb people love Britney Spears and Paris Hilton

i-c09bc3f4165b29dc77c79bb8ec59cda8-britney_spears.jpg
Yeah you heard me right... there is no good reason why Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, or any of the other tabloid celebs are so paid attention to. They contribute nothing to society - and they aren't even that attractive. Dr Torkel Klingberg and Fiona McNab have come up with a potential explanation as to why these celebrity vampires have come to take over the press - inability to filter out irrelevant stimuli. Basically... the U.S. is undergoing a pervasive bout of ADHD.

Here's some of the study details from BBC news (which of course overblows the significance of this research just like I just did):

Scientists believe they have located a new brain area essential for good memory - the "irrelevance filter".

People who are good at remembering things, even with distractions, have more activity in the basal ganglia on brain scans, the Swedish team found.

The work in Nature Neuroscience could help explain why some people are better at remembering things than others.

Clinically, it could also aid the understanding of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

So what we here at Omni Brain recommend for the pervasive Britney Spears problem is a large scale distribution of Ritalin. Perhaps inserted into Twinkies, cheap beer, potato chips, and all McDonalds food.

Oh hey... by the way... did you guys see that Britney got caught stealing a lighter from a gas station the other day? Check it out! People Magazine says:

Britney Spears walked out of a Sherman Oaks, Calif., gas station on Friday and joked to cameras that she stole a lighter.

Now, the gas station owner wants her to come back... and pay $1.39.

Chevron owner Jatinder Kaur tells PEOPLE: "Yes, Britney stole a blue lighter here last night. The lighter is $1.39. I'm hoping maybe the next time she comes back she will pay for it. I know she can afford to pay for it, but I'm not planning to file a police report. It's still not right for her to steal the lighter. I hope she will do the right thing the next time she comes here."

What do you guys think of this? Should she get in trouble? I can't wait to find out what happens over this most recent incident!

More like this

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), currently the most common childhood-onset behavioral disorder, is nothing if not controversial. Nearly every aspect of ADHD from diagnosis to prevalence to medication, and even its mere existence, is disputed by at least one 'concerned' group. And…
[I figured that some of you may be new to Retrospectacle due to the blog scholarship contest. I am also writing a manuscript and about to leave to give a talk in Antwerp. So, I thought I might repost a few of my more thought-provoking neuroscience posts today. I hope you enjoy them. -Shelley]…
A variety of new cognitive neuroscience shows how our ability to ignore distractions - to "perceptually filter", in a sense - is based on a ventral attentional network, is related to working memory, and may be involved in putative inhibitory tasks. First, a little background. In 2004, Vogel &…
I recently learned that many professional graduate schools - law schools, business schools, even medical schools - continue to provide "test accommodations" to students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. These accommodations usually take the form of extra time on the exam, when…

I think we are obsessed with Britney, Paris et al because in our stressful, busy lives we need a little light relief, and a lot of todays celebrities give us a glimpse at a completely different life to the one we lead.

i dont think people can remember more facts using "irrelevance filter".. human memory is not limited in quantity to remember (there is a woman, which remembers every day of her life)..

i believe, that memory is based on associations: more associations make things easier to retrieve from memory..
and since memory is strongest with experience, and with understanding, that is probably the best way to remember things..

understanding shapes our brain (i believe), so the best way to remember anything, is to analyze it, understand it, verify it and if is seems rational, take it as one's own opinion..

(btw, this article reminds me of one article from Doug's Darkworld:
"What does Britney have to do with all this? Beats me, I am only vaguely aware of who she is, mostly I know is when I use her name in the title of the post…I get more hits."
http://unitedcats.wordpress.com/2007/09/11/ )

you know.... they're talking about working memory not longterm memory so you're wrong.

I got like maybe half way through your

It is funny to laugh at celebrity culture, and at cultural narratives that you're not privy to / ignorant of. But to mock it and drag a legitimate diagnosis into it? I like this blog, but come up. Academic elitism is so boring. At least keep it inside the academy, where the rest of the world can ignore it.

Brad, isn't that the point of the obsessive coverage of these people, for people to point and laugh and feel superior? If you glance at any of the "entertainment TV" channels, pretty much all they do all day long is to mock celebrities, so why is it any different when a scientist does it?

Or is this what you meant?

Brad is perfectly right. In fact, Britney has contributed a lot more to society than the author of this post. She has entertained millions of people through her songs and performances. She is not a parasite and pays her own way in life with money voluntarily given to her by society for services rendered. Calling her a parasite is just elitist academic nonsense.

Should she get in trouble for taking the lighter? I think she already is in trouble if she's announcing that she's shoplifted to the press - clearly a cry for help. So is that venti frappucino in her other hand. Poor Britney.

Leave Britney Alone !
Sniff..sniff....... whimper.......WAAAAAAAAAAAA!

oh what the hell someone needs to said it and its going to be me id hit it

By Sir Malek (not verified) on 12 Dec 2007 #permalink

I believe the REAL reason people are so interested in the activities and lives in general of celebrities is because most idiotic people look up to them. Why bother looking up to Paris, someone who has her name on her clothes, probably so she doesn't forget and crys herself out of prison? Why look up to " i will draw attention to myself by shaving my head" spears? I really don't understand why nearly every woman these days is a slut and only cares about their appearence. These women make the rest of us 'normal' women seem inadequate and as though we are just used by men for sex. Pathectic idiocy and no i am not a 70 year old who is complaining about the young 'uns today, i am fourteen and have come to my senses.