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Our brain knows the difference between Michael Jackson and God: why it feels good to superfan, and it's so hard to let go
Celebrities In the light of ‘Leaving Neverland’, the documentary about the alleged child abuse of Michael Jackson, seems to be the ‘King of Pop’ slowly but surely from his throne to fall. Nevertheless, superfans as a block behind him, impervious to the horrifying allegations of their great hero. That is normal, as research has shown, because in the mind of a superfan has an idol, an equally important status as a best friend, a family member or God.

“We need a sense of belonging, something to follow and something to believe in,” explains psychologist Zoe Fraade-Blanar, author of the educational book "Superfandom," in which she explains why people are so intimate feel connected with superstars which they actually not know. It is, according to her, not at all remarkable, but a logical phenomenon that occurs in our brain. Usually it is even very healthy for you.


“When we huge fan of someone, we use the same part of our brain as when we participate in organized religion. Together something worship gives us a good feeling. Because if we are associated with a group and we comply with the norms and values of that group, we feel less alone. We feel even happier.” Since there is, however, less and less people in the modern era still are religious, we turn to other ‘gods’, namely of the Hollywood variant.

In the brain of superfans are their idols haste really is a god, or something very similar

Zoe Fraade-Blanar, psychologist,

Michael Jackson was perhaps the last true ultra-superstar in the world. By millions of fans, he was carried on hands. “In the brain of superfans are the stars almost really a god, or something very similar”, it sounds. No wonder, then, that many fans it is so difficult to even considering the possibility that Jackson's children are abused. Because if that is true, what does that mean for their world view? “An idol from his pedestal, that has consequences for the fans, both physically and mentally.”

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