The brain on fandoms

The word “fan” is derived from the word “fanatic” which is used to describe a person motivated by irrational enthusiasm, sometimes associated with certain mental conditions. Winston Churchill quoted,”A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” Almost all of us are fans of something or the other- books, movies, sports, music bands. If you ask a fan what his/her fandom means to him/her, chances are you’ll be hearing screams above 90 decibel of possibly witnessing an emotional outburst.

Being a potterhead, I can’t explain how relatable this picture it.

What makes fandoms so emotionally activating?

This is because being involved in a fandom highly affects your limbic system which is the part of the brain which controls  emotions and drives. The ability of the cerebral cortex which controls decision-making is reduced.img_20161023_221620

Further, our circles and society significantly affect our brain. For example, I watched a great movie and I told my friends about it who also like the movie as much as I did or even more, my feelings for the “awesomeness” of the movie will increase with every new “fan” I meet. Also,  even if I didn’t like the movie, I will start liking it if I am surrounded by fans and will end up becoming a fan myself. This is because social behaviour affects a person’s behaviour or sometimes certain things become tagged as “cool” and more people then tend to follow them. Social networking platforms such as Tumblr promote this significantly.

No offence. Please don’t kill me.

Fandoms specially affect adolescents because of the increased brain activity. Teenage years for a major proportion of the population are spent in anxiety, depression, stress and other mental conditions. Fandoms  open a door to another world distracting the teenager from his/her personal problems. Teenagers start empathising with the characters. music etc. This is the time when they develop a certain deep attachment with certain feelings they carry along life long.


Is there any harm in being a fan?

Being involved in a fandom provides a sense of belonging. Fandoms can act as sources of motivation and inspiration. Further, common interests lead to more social integrity. This is an interesting study. Fandoms increase happiness and creativity levels. So, as long as you are not wasting too much of time and productive energy on your fandom, it’s great to be in it.

img_20161023_221612Fun fact: The most popular fandom of 2016 is “Game of Thrones”.

Freaky fact: A lady called Linda Resa changed her name to Mrs. Kanye West. (Yes, I had to include this in “freaky” facts.)



Have a stupid question? I love stupid questions.

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