Oscar winners study

24.03.2015 |

Episode #7 of the course “Brilliant Social Psychology Experiments”

Being famous is more than just wealth and notoriety—it may also be an important element of a long, healthy life. The Oscar Winners study, conducted by researchers at Toronto’s Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre, concluded that Academy Award-winners had a longer lifespan than others who were simply nominees and not winners. Interestingly, the winners reportedly lived four years longer than their peers who never won.

Researchers at the Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Center in Toronto gathered information for all Academy Award nominations based on whether the nominee won or not. Further, cast member information for the works that had Academy Award artists was compiled to identify those who weren’t nominated but who appeared in the same film and were of the same age and gender. They used 1,649 artists who were separated into the following categories: won, nominated and never won, or never nominated.

Performers who won Academy Awards lived to be an average of 79.7 years according to the findings. Performers who did not win lived an average of 75.8 years. In comparison, non-winners lived just over the US life expectancy age of 75 years. The data suggests that winning an Academy Award adds a few years to your lifespan—to the tune of more than four years more than the US life expectancy!

However, Donald Redelmeier, the lead investigator on the study, is a bit apprehensive to endorse this idea. Redelmeier states, “We are not saying that you will live longer if you win an Academy Award, or that people should go out and take acting courses. Our main conclusion is simply that social factors are important. It suggests that an internal sense of self-esteem is an important aspect of health and health care.”


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