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Personality Types

The January/February (2012) issue of Psychology Today highlights the personality of diehard fans.  Some of the findings include that people are deeply connected to outside entities.  The brain’s mesolimbic system functions as a reinforcement circuit so when we like something, we want it again the next time it is available.  If we enjoyed being around sports and cheering our favorite team, we want to do it again.  “Superfandom” might also represent a copying strategy.  By cheering your favorite band, a fan can forget about all their other troubles.

In terms of sport fans, the article highlighted that the greater the fan’s draw to the action, the more they might feel they are part of the action.  “We did it.”  The feeling that a fan is part of the team and helped the team win is very intense.  It is a vicarious sense of success.  This can be so intense that fans can experience hormonal surges and the post win euphoria can last for days after a major victory.  Fans can also feel they are part of a community of other fans which presents a strong sense of belonging.  Lastly, sport fans are often evaluated based on how “out there” they are.  Thus the more a fan wears the team colors, shaves their body, paints their body, engages in crazy antics, etc… the more their status increases among other fans.  Thus, the wilder they are, the more prestige they have with a group.

In terms of music fans, music has a very strong reinforcing effect which is why we sometimes have a favorite song or remember an event associated with music.  A live concert can intensify this feeling.  Some research has shown that concerts can actually rival religious experiences with pounding hearts, tears, and uncontrollable emotions.

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