Emotional Headlines Affect Judgement
A new study by Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin (HU) has shown that headlines with emotional content influence our judgements about other people even when we consider the media source to be untrustworthy. Rumours, half-truths and misinformation can be consumed and shared non-stop online and have an enormous reach. In the study by HU Department of Psychology participants were made to read headlines with social-emotional or comparatively neutral information about fictitious persons. For eg. one person had embezzled tax revenues or shown outstanding civil courage. After a short break, the brain activity was measured using electroencephalogram (EEG) which enables to distinguish our slower and controlled responses to situations. In the study it showed that both late and early brain responses showed dominant influences of headline emotionality independent of credibility. Although the participants rated the media sources as having different levels of credibility, these ratings did not play a role in the formation of their opinions.