Journalism and Communication
This study explored how the proximity of threatening health news affects cognition and emotion through a 2 (Proximity: High=Low)4 (Topic) fractional experiment. Fifty-one participants read four news stories about either local or distant health threats, with their heart rate, skin conductance, and corrugator electromyography recorded. Results showed that high-proximity health threats elicited greater heart rate deceleration than did low- proximity health threats, indicating greater allocation of automatic resources to encoding high-proximity threats. Recognition data demonstrated that details from high-proximity health threats were recognized more accurately than details from low-proximity health threats. There were no significant effects of proximity on either skin conductance levels or corrugator activation. These results are discussed in terms of Shoemaker’s (1996) hard- wired for news hypothesis and A. Lang’s (2000, 2006) limited capacity model.
Wise, Kevin; Eckler, Petya; Kononova, Anastasia; and Littau, Jeremy, "Exploring the Hardwired for News Hypothesis: How Threat Proximity Affects the Cognitive and Emotional Processing of Health-Related Print News" (2009). Faculty Publications. 2.