ARTICLE: Steady negativity sticks to the dilettantes

Repeated exposure to negatively framed news has a noticeable effect on the audience’s political views, write Sophie Lecheler, Andreas Schuck, both of Univeristy of Amsterdam, Mario Keer, of the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, and Regula Hänggli, of University of Fribourg (names not in original order).

The authors subjected research participants to news stories that were framed either positively or negatively, and studied the changes in the subjects’ political views. According to the study, repeated exposure increased the strength and duration of the stories’ effects. Only negatively framed news caused an effect, the authors note.

The effects were most persistent in subjects with moderate political knowledge. The most ignorant participants would forget about the stories altogether and the most educated would encounter contrasting views later on, the authors suggest. Some evidence also hints to a connection between knowledge and effect strength, but for now the results are inconclusive.

The results were published in an online-first article of the journal Communication Monographs. It can be accessed online here (abstract public).

Give us feedback