Credibility and shareworthiness of negative news

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Negativity in the news sells, but is such news also perceived as more credible and shareworthy? Given that negative information is more impactful and processed more easily, a positive-negative asymmetry might also exist in news processing. This negativity bias is explored in a two-part experiment (N = 696) where respondents rated (a) multiple positive and negative news items and (b) conflicting news on perceived credibility and shareworthiness. Results reveal no straightforward patterns: Audiences only hold a negativity bias in their credibility assessment under certain conditions, and even less so when it comes to sharing news. When confronted with conflicting information, audiences do not seem to use negativity as a cue to determine which news to believe or share.




van der Meer, T. G. L. A., & Brosius, A. (2022). Credibility and shareworthiness of negative news. Journalism.

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