Today's youngsters are more influenced by celebrities like Angelina Jolie, David Beckham and Kylie than famous historical figures, a new study has found.
A research of 800 respondents carried out at the University of Leicester's department of media and communication has found that the legends like Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare and Isaac Newton have lost their significance from the life of the today's youth to the Tomb Raider star, the England footballer or the Australian pop singer.
AdvertisementDr Charlotte de Backer, who conducted the study, found that the high publicity afforded to households like the Jolie-Pitts or the Beckhams makes them 'teachers' for the young.
"Life is about learning, gaining experience and in that process we have a tendency to observe and mimic the actions of others. Ideally we mimic what makes others successful and avoid unsuccessful actions others have trialled (and paid for)," Contactmusic quoted Backer, as saying.
"In reality, humans seem to have the tendency to mimic the overall behaviour pattern of higher status or more successful others.
"This explains why celebrities act as role models for broad ranges of behaviour they display - good or bad," she added.
In the study, it was also found that older people were interested in celebrities for purely social reasons rather than because of any specific interest in Lindsay Lohan's latest spell in rehab.
"We did find in the interviews that older people do not gossip about celebrities as much because they want to learn from them or feel befriended with them, but they use celebrity gossip to bond with real-life friends and acquaintances," Backer said.
"Living in scattered societies we often don't know who to talk about with the many people we know and celebrities can act as our mutual friends and acquaintances," she added.
The study is published in the journal Human Nature.