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A cross-national study suggests consumers around the world have stronger psychophysiological reactions to negative news when compared to positive news. The report is one of the largest of its kind and was published in PNAS.

Bad news tends to dominate the headlines and one explanation involves something called the negativity bias. This term describes the tendency for people to give more weight to negative information over positive information. This bias towards negative content has important repercussions where media is concerned, since it affects what gets reported in the news and ultimately how citizens view current affairs.

“In a period during which news around the world is especially wrought with negativity, this subject is of obvious significance,” said study author Stuart Soroka of the University of Michigan in a news release.

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