Negative Headlines Get More Attention According To This Study

Taking a look at headlines on the internet might make it seem like the world is about to end, but in spite of the fact that this is the case the world just keeps chugging along. Why then does every headline seem to be so negative? Well, according to a recent study published in the Nature journal, it seems like the reasons for this trend are quite clear: negative headlines get more clicks than might have been the case otherwise.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that the study analyzed well over a hundred thousand variations of a story that were posted on Based on this study, it was found that every single negative word that was added to a headline increase the clickthrough rate by 2.3%.

It makes sense that news publishers would be negative because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up getting them exponentially more views. However, it also has an effect on the wider news industry. If everyone is using negative headlines, things will just keep getting worse since no news publisher will want to get left behind.

This also speaks to the ubiquity of a negativity bias among human beings. Our brains are hardwired to pay more attention to threats, and the news industry is capitalizing on that and essentially hijacking the bias to get more views on their news stories with all things having been considered and taken into account.

Social media platforms have been well aware of this for quite some time now, which is why their algorithms often boost content that will create divisions and cause arguments. The main issue here is that this trend will only worsen over time. Necessary steps must be taken to make the news more factual instead of warping it to cater to an inherent human bias to worry about the worst that could occur. Given that news publishers earn so much money from negativity, it is unlikely that this trend will change at any point in the near future.

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