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Individual-level differences in negativity biases in news selection

Journal article
Authors Sarah Bachleda
Fabian G. Neuner
Stuart Soroka
Lauren Guggenheim
Patrick Fournier
Elin Naurin
Published in Personality and Individual Differences
Volume 155
ISSN 0191-8869
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Political Science
Language en
Keywords Negativity bias, News consumption, Personality differences, Political communication
Subject categories Political Science, Media and Communications


© 2019 Elsevier Ltd Literatures across the social sciences highlight the tendency for humans to be more attentive to negative information than to positive information. We focus here on negativity biases in news selection (NBNS) and suggest that this bias varies across individuals and contexts. We introduce a survey-based measure of NBNS which is used to explore the correlates of negative news bias in surveys in the U.S., Canada, and Sweden. We find that some respondents are more prone to NBNS than others. There is evidence of contextual effects, but panel data suggests that some of the individual-level differences persist over time. NBNS likely reflects some combination of long-term personality differences and short-term situational factors, and is systematically related to a number of economic and political attitudes.

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