The Effects of Sensational Language in News on Memory and Attitudes
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The present study investigated whether news presented in a sensational style - using language with higher emotional arousal--influenced the readers' attitudes about the article topic, and their memory and comprehension of the factual information, compared to news presented in a less arousing style. Participants (N = 127) read a sensational or calm version of two online news articles. The dependent variables were a composite Knowledge score, comprised of comprehension and recognition memory scores of the article's factual information, and Attitude Change scores. No differences in the dependent variables were found as a function of the arousal manipulation. Robust interaction effects were found between the stories and the order in which they were read.