Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Online News Garners More Attention From Readers If It's Negative And Localized

Date:
October 2, 2009
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Researchers examined the physiological effects of reading threatening health news online. The researchers found that news about local health threats increased attention and memory in readers more than news about distant, or non-local, health threats.

According to the "hardwired for news" theory, people devote more attention to information that is deviant or threatening. To test the theory, University of Missouri researchers examined the physiological effects of reading threatening health news online. The researchers found that news about local health threats increased attention and memory in readers more than news about distant, or non-local, health threats.

"Although journalists have often prioritized negative and local stories, there has been limited evidence to support that approach until now," said Kevin Wise, assistant professor of strategic communication in the MU School of Journalism. "This study provides physiological evidence that supports both the practice of localizing news stories and the idea that people allocate more attention to negative news with a local focus."

This study is one of only a few that used physiological response to examine how people respond to reading text. The results indicate that people have an innate mechanism that enables more attention to be given to information that is localized and negative, Wise said.

"It seems ironic, but the majority of the time that people spend online is spent reading text," Wise said. "Therefore, identifying how people process and respond to text is critical to understanding the cognitive and emotional processing of all interactive media."

In the study, Wise measured the physiological responses, including heart rate, of participants as they read news stories about either local or distant health threats. He found that reading high-proximity, or local, health news elicited slower heart rate than low-proximity news, an indication that more cognitive resources were allocated to the local news. Additionally, participants more accurately recalled details from local health threats compared to distant threats.

"It's logical to assume that people will be more likely to take protective or preventative action after reading about a local health threat," Wise said. "If journalists can increase the awareness of threats in local communities, then people will have opportunities to act upon that information."

The study was conducted at the PRIME (Psychological Research on Information and Media Effects) Lab in the Missouri School of Journalism.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wise et al. Exploring the Hardwired for News Hypothesis: How Threat Proximity Affects the Cognitive and Emotional Processing of Health-Related Print News. Communication Studies, 2009; 60 (3): 268 DOI: 10.1080/10510970902956024

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Online News Garners More Attention From Readers If It's Negative And Localized." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090827131828.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2009, October 2). Online News Garners More Attention From Readers If It's Negative And Localized. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090827131828.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Online News Garners More Attention From Readers If It's Negative And Localized." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090827131828.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins