Why we are attracted by bad news

The popularity of a newspaper or magazine directly depends on how interesting is the material presented by them. With this, it is difficult not to agree. However, from time to time we notice that the main focus of the media, and, paradoxically, our own, focuses on tragic, depressed and simply bad news about wars, terrorist attacks, murders and robberies. Why is this happening? Perhaps journalists think that such sensational and frightening news is more interesting than those that tell about economic improvements or medical discoveries? Or that they are easier and more understandable for perception? Many people say they prefer bad news. Do they not deceive themselves?

bad news
bad news

Researchers Mark Tracler and Stuart Soroka decided to find answers to these questions and conducted an experiment at McGill University in Canada. They invited volunteers to “study on oculography.” Participants in the experiment were asked to select and read an article from the news channel, and a specially installed camera tracked the movement of their eyeball during these processes. After the “preparatory” task, the participants watched a short video, and answered the question what kind of political news they want to read. The results showed that most of the participants in the experiment chose the news on a rather negative topic. People who are interested in modern world events were most predisposed to choose “bad” news.



Scientists explain this tendency basa natural human instinct to feel danger. Bad news works like a signal telling us that we have to do something to avoid danger. But is this the only answer to the question that interests us? Probably not. Trassler and Soroka believe that we pay more attention to the negative, because we see the world around us more calm and quiet. A positive outlook on life makes the bad news more visible and shocking.

Why we are attracted by bad news
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