A current theory holds that people are attracted to deviant or threatening news and information.
University of Missouri researchers decided to test the theory by examining physiological responses such as heart rate after reading threatening online health news.
The researchers found that news about local health threats increased attention and memory in readers more than news about distant, or nonlocal, 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.
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