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Why do people grieve for celebrities?

Ever wondered why there’s such public mourning over celebrities’ deaths? For instance, recently, the death of Dayvon Da’Quan Bennett, a singer-rapper. Bennett died because he was shot multiple times. Bennett, commonly known as king von left people in grief after king von autopsy report photos went viral. We spoke to some psychologists in the personality and social world to explain the reasons why these tragic events (like the death of Elvis, Prince, Princess Diana, David Bowie, and many others) can have such a profound influence on people. Why do we mourn people we’ve never had the pleasure of meeting?

Our experts have suggested that six distinct psychological processes might be involved.

1. Sometimes, celebrities feel as if they are our friends 

One reason why we are sad when things go wrong with celebrities is that they are as if they are our friends. The Dr. Melanie Green of SUNY Buffalo states that parasocial bonds are formed with famous people. The parasocial bond is a “one-way” relationship with famous people. People feel strongly connected to television and movie music stars, pop singers, newscasters, news broadcasters, on-air meteorologists, and other people, even though no actual interactions occur. It’s true that parasocial bonds are quite commonplace: a lot of us are afflicted with these. Although we are aware that celebrities aren’t the ones we consider to be our “friends,” because we frequently see them and have information on them, they often appear to be our friends. It’s a good thing when they do great things, and we are happy and connected to them. It is also a sign that if they fall ill or pass away, we grieve for them in the same way we would grieve a true friend.

2. Celebrities have ties to our youth. of nostalgia

It doesn’t require any kind of parasocial connection with a famous person to grieve when they die. There is a possibility that we feel sadness due to our nostalgia. Based on Dr. Constantine Sedikides from the University of Southampton, people are nostalgic about people that were important to them throughout their adolescence or childhood. Through reflection on their past, those people are an integral part of us. Therefore, when they die, it can be difficult to feel as if we’ve lost a little bit of our own. People who did not feel an emotional connection to Luke Perry might have mourned his passing due to watching the TV series 90210 when they were younger. Because Perry was an integral part of the show, certain people felt like they lost the connection to their childhood selves after Perry passed away.

3 Celebrities die to remind us of the mortality of our lives: The function of the management of terror

There is a possibility that we are also upset by the demise of famous people since their deaths are a reminder of our mortality. The theory of terror management suggests that all of us are afflicted by a fear of death that we deal with by not even thinking about it. When something brings our mortality into our consciousness, this can be very unpleasant. The Dr. Eric Wesselmann of Illinois State University states that when famous people die or are diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses, this is a frightening reminder of death and aging. The Dr. Samantha Cacace of North Carolina State University says that witnessing an idol die could make death appear to be more likely.

4 Celebrities dying to remind us that special people die: The importance of self-serving prejudices

It is also possible to react to the death of celebrities since they challenge our own self-serving prejudices. Research in the field of psychology indicates that people want the belief to be able to feel that life is secure and secure. This leads us to create false views of the world in order that we can be more satisfied with our lives. For instance, many people believe that they are less likely than others to contract deadly diseases. However, they are much better suited to having a longer life. The Dr. Hannah Hamilton of Kenyon College suggests that the passing or serious health issue of a famous person is a challenge to our beliefs about ourselves. The loss or disease of a star can make us think that when these terrible things occur to celebrities, we could be at risk as well. The deaths of celebrities shake us as they undermine the self-serving illusions that make us feel safe.

5 Celebrities dying to make us feel that everyone is dying: The function of the availability in the heuristic

Deaths of celebrities can be incredibly distressing as a small number of celebrity deaths can appear that everyone at our young age is dying. It is because of the popularity of a heuristic that the faster we can think of instances of something, the more likely we will believe that it occurs frequently. For instance, the faster I think of Beatles songs that I can, the more I’ll believe that they wrote a lot of songs. The Dr. Jaye Derrick of the University of Houston thinks that similar things can occur with celebrities who die. It’s easy to imagine stars in the 90s that have passed away because their deaths were featured in the news. However, we’ve not been thinking about 90s stars that haven’t passed away. So, dead stars from the 90s are more readily available in our memory than live stars. This causes us to feel like nearly everybody we loved from the 90s is dying, and that is a bit depressing.

6. Public mourning for celebrities allows us to express our emotions The function of grieving signaling

Another reason why people be saddened by celebrities is that they signal grief. That is, we might mourn the loss of the death of celebrities to show others that we’re dedicated to a certain group or cause or even a particular identity. For instance, Dr. Cory Clark of Durham University says that mourning the passing of celebrities publicly lets other people (maybe our Facebook friends, followers on Twitter, or even coworkers) know that we’re dedicated people of our “tribe” who were familiar with and appreciated the celebrity’s cultural contribution. This is how we communicate our group’s belonging and the good taste of our group.

Furthermore, the fact that celebrities are well-known (by definition), therefore publicly mourning the passing of a famous person lets us connect with a lot of people, at the very least for a short period. If people are mourning Luke Perry, for example, they’re demonstrating that they were a part of the 90s, which ties them to others who are feeling the same. Even after certain celebrities die, there are still people who show their grief. For instance, people who are fans of Elvis Presley continue to do for more than 40 years after his passing.

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Then putting it all together.

What is the reason people mourn famous people? It turns out there are a variety of reasons. People mourn famous people because they feel a sense of a social connection to the celebrity, so their passing is as if they’ve lost friends; their demise breaks a link with one’s youth; their loss is a reminder of our mortality, and the loss of famous individuals can make us realize that we’re not unique enough to be immune to the ravages of death and illness. The deaths of celebrities can make us feel as if all of us are suffering, and mourning the celebrity deaths helps us communicate to others that we belong to a specific group or possess certain beliefs.

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