Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How Negative Headlines Can Impact Your Mental and Emotional Health

How Negative Headlines Can Impact Your Mental and Emotional Health
From Good News Network
You can have either a positive or negative emotional response to headlines depending on their content. For example, a study of 426 headlines on the cover of five of the highest circulating women’s health magazines in the United States revealed that the frequency of appearance themes (looking better) equaled those of health themes (doing something to feel better). The 103 undergraduate women in the study assigned to the appearance-themed covers reported more “body shame” than women assigned to magazines with health-themed covers.

Headlines partnered with images are especially influential because we process them in the right brain where an automatic body response is stimulated. For example, I remember my children as infants staring intently at their first book absent words, but filled with kindly human faces. The friendly feeling portrayed in the faces consistently drew smiles and happy sounds.

Interestingly, headlines are not always dependable to tell the truth of a story. Blake Andrew of McGill University analyzed headlines versus the storyline of articles during the 2004 Canadian federal election campaign. He found that headlines were created to “attract” readers not represent the accuracy of the story. Yet, many of us don’t take the time to read the whole article. Instead, we use headlines as a shortcut to gain a sense of it.

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