If anyone's wondering, which is no one, I have a minimal 6-page interview report that I have to finish tomorrow, which word of the wise tonight. But my fingers are tingling to write another thing, a blog post out of all things. Then I came upon this article from one of my favorite websites, Psychology Today. The website gathers a few articles a day that correlates with each other. Yesterday the theme was fanaticism, which is an everyday language in the world of K-pop. So maybe it will be nice to bring psychology and K-pop together into one heck of a post.
Most of the articles posted in this theme is about fans of sports, which is the most verbal form of fanaticism in the West. But thankfully there is a little tiny bit about music, and pop music groupies at that. Here's an excerpt of the post about the music lover which is most similar to K-pop fans, who are essentially fans of music.
The Music Lover (Devotium Groupis)
Cranking up a favorite song is one thing; seeing a pop group 44 times is another. Actively listening to a beloved tune stokes the brain's pleasure center and feels extremely arousing. "It's like a temporary roller coaster of emotions, with no severe consequences," says Valorie Salimpoor, a researcher at McGill University. "The intensity of the feelings the music evokes is highly reinforcing." That may explain why some die-hard fans still aren't weary of Skulls & Roses.The bolded sentence is pretty interesting. I can't really tell what type of self-presentation a K-pop fan is trying to show based on the group he/she is following. Maybe I should dig some literature to see if self-presentation and fanaticism correlates. Or I'll just make that into my argumentative essay for a class. My guesstimate? They want boy/girlfriends. Because so many groups are made towards that goal. I'm sure there's other reasons, but that's what I can come up at the top of my head. Oh, and fame and fortune. Don't forget that.
For some, concerts can extend that "high" even further. Live shows often incorporate light displays, choreography, or a good old-fashioned mosh pit. If an aspect resonates with fans, "the disparate sensory elements contribute to a much stronger rush than whatever they get from an iPod," says Donald Lodge, a music researcher at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
In fact, participants in a Swedish study who described their most powerful musical experiences (many of which took place at concerts) relayed an almost religious experience—pounding heart, tears, no adequate words to explain their emotions.
Nostalgia lends even more meaning to favorite songs, since music seals in memories from the era in which one first heard it. Fans who center their lives around a particular band probably got hooked during their formative years, Lodge says. "That's when you struggled most with identity, and the music you related to at the time helped answer the question, 'Who am I?'"
Also a sentence I'd like to mention is this: "their most powerful musical experiences... relayed an almost religious experience". Now I know why some fans basically worship their idols. And funny, the word idols, according to Dictionary.com, means "an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed". So maybe another meaning is somewhat more relatable, "any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion" but even that definition deserves a second thought. The word "blind" and "devotion" is definitely something I can associate to K-pop fans, myself included.
Here's a fun fact. The word fanatic, again according to Dictionary.com, means "a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal". Extreme. Uncritical. Sounds familiar? Yup. That's what I can your everyday K-pop fan. Or other fans, actually. But considering this is a K-pop blog, I'd like to associate them with K-pop fans. I made a post a little back, a rant post and not as "scientific" as this one, where I've mentioned one shouldn't easily call yourself a fan of a certain group without full on devotion. And apparently the dictionary agrees. And hopefully theories and journals which I promise I will look up another day.
I've been wanting to research on the K-pop idol phenomena for some time and am seriously considering a related topic as my thesis later on. I personally think it's an interesting thing to discuss. Definitely more interesting than politics any day. The only downfall is that in my country there's not that many seriously devoted fans. But maybe if I look close enough I might find enough to make a valid research. Till then!