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The media play a key role in forming opinions by influencing peoples understanding and perception of a topic. People gather information about topics of interest from the internet and print media, which employ various news frames to attract attention. One example of a common news frame is the human-interest frame, which emotionalizes and dramatizes information and often accentuates individual affectedness. Our study investigated effects of human-interest frames compared to a neutral-text condition with respect to perceived risk, emotions, and knowledge acquisition, and tested whether these effects can be -generalized- to common variants of the human-interest frame. Ninety-one participants read either one variant of the human-interest frame or a neutrally formulated version of a newspaper article describing the effects of invasive species in general and the Asian ladybug an invasive species in particular. The framing was achieved by varying the opening and concluding paragraphs about invasive species, as well as the headline. The core text about the Asian ladybug was the same across all conditions. All outcome variables on framing effects referred to this common core text. We found that all versions of the human-interest frame increased perceived risk and the strength of negative emotions compared to the neutral text. Furthermore, participants in the human-interest frame condition displayed better quantitative learning outcomes but also biased knowledge, highlighting a potential dilemma: Human-interest frames may increase learning, but they also lead to a rather unbalanced view of the given topic on a -deeper level-.



Author: Christine Otieno , Hans Spada, Alexander Renkl

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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