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 How the news affects our thinking and behavior

According to new research, the news can influence us in unexpected ways, from our risk perception to the content of our dreams to our risks of having a heart attack.
Alison Holman was doing a routine study on mental health in the United States. Then disaster hit.
Two bombs exploded ten seconds apart on April 15, 2013, as hundreds of runners raced through the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon. On that day, three individuals were slain, including an eight-year-old kid. Thousands were hurt. Sixteen victims had their limbs amputated.
News organisations began months — years, if you consider the trial – of graphic coverage as the globe mourned the atrocity. The moment of detonation, as well as the accompanying commotion and smoke, were regularly replayed on television. Blood-streaked streets, sorrowful spectators, and obviously terrified victims whose clothing had been torn from their bodies were all depicted in newspapers.
As a result, Holman and colleagues from the University of California, Irvine, found themselves in the midst of a national crisis, with data on the mental health of over 5,000 people right before it occurred. They decided to see if anything had changed in the weeks since.
It should go without saying that being physically present during – or personally affected by – a terrorist attack is detrimental for your mental health. By happenstance, several participants in the study had firsthand involvement with the bombs, and their mental health did suffer as a result. However, there was a catch.
Another group had been left even more shaken: those who had not witnessed the explosion in person but had watched at least six hours of news coverage per day for the following week. Surprisingly, knowing someone who had been hurt or killed, or being in the vicinity when the bombs went off, did not predict significant acute stress. For us, it was a major 'aha' moment. "I believe that people grossly underestimate the influence that news may have."
News coverage turns out to be substantially more than a reliable source of information. It can creep into our subconscious and mess with our lives in unexpected ways, from our attitudes toward immigration to the substance of our dreams. It has the potential to cause us to overestimate certain risks, shape our perceptions of foreign countries, and even influence the health of entire economies. It raises our chances of acquiring post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. Now there's evidence that the emotional aftermath of news coverage might damage our physical health, potentially raising our risk of a heart attack or developing health problems years later.
Importantly, even a few hours per day can have a significantly greater influence than you might imagine. Why?
Since the first reports of a mystery new virus emerged from China last year, broadcast news has enjoyed record viewership, with millions tuning in daily for official briefings, updates on the latest fatalities, lockdown restrictions, and material for their own armchair analysis. However, in 2020, these sources will not be the only, or even the primary, means of keeping up with current events. When you add in podcasts, streaming services, radio, social media, and websites – all of which want to send us notifications throughout the day – as well as links shared by friends, it's clear that we're constantly immersed in a soup of news, from the moment we wake up to the moment we close our eyes at night. is the latest breaking business news site and Latest Entertainment News Headlines Today. Get the latest headlines and analysis on the economy, earnings, jobs, housing, etc. If you require any further information, please get in touch with us.
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