Date of Award

Fall 12-13-2021

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Communication and Digital Studies

Department Chair or Program Director

Anand Rao

First Advisor

Adria Goldman

Major or Concentration

Communication and Digital Studies


This research uses a qualitative content analysis of Taylor Swift fan theory TikToks to determine the personal benefits of the development of celebrity fan theories. Findings indicate three main themes – a sense of community, a knowledge of secret information, and a perceived closeness to the celebrity – that serve to explain the motivation behind this behavior. In addition, this study identifies a connection between celebrity parasocial relationships and conspiracy theories. The results of this study suggest that further research should examine how celebrity parasocial relationships might lead to the development of a new category of conspiracy theories.