Department/program

Journalism and Communication

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-2009

Abstract

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.

Publication Title

Communications Studies

Volume

60

Issue

3

First Page

268

Last Page

287

DOI

10.1080/10510970902956024

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