A study by a Dutch team scanned the brains of 24 women as they looked at images of celebrities and non-famous women of similar attractiveness wearing the same shoes.
When shown an image of a celebrity, heightened activity was recorded in a part of the brain – the medial orbitofrontal cortex.
The same activity did not occur when pictures of a non-celebrity were viewed.
Published in the Journal of Economic Psychology, the researchers suggested this activity links the celebrity with the product in a part of the brain associated with feeling affection.
However, the number of women saying they would go out and buy the shoes did not differ significantly between the celebrity and non-celebrity images.
Lead author Mirre Stallen from Erasmus University said, ‘The enhanced memory performance for items that were encoded in the context of a famous individual can neither be explained by increased attractiveness of the celebrity nor by a higher level of perceived expertise, but only by the persuasiveness of fame itself’.
By Lauren King