July 04, 2012
Media Exposure Increases Emotional Pain From Terrorism

Ignorance is bliss. Watching media coverage of a terrorist attack increases emotional pain. Most obvious lesson: spend less time watching TV news reports of terrorist attacks. But I think there's an important larger lesson: manage your media intake with an eye toward managing your emotional state.

BEER-SHEVA, ISRAEL --July 2, 2012 "Exposure to media coverage of terrorist missile attacks increases pain levels in people already suffering from chronic pain," according to a new study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers.

"Does War Hurt? Effects of Media Exposure After Missile Attacks on Chronic Pain," published in the online version of the Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, showed that exposure to the attacks through the media predicted an increase in pain intensity and in the sensory component of pain during the pre-post war period, but did not predict depression or anxiety.

Ease of access to media has increased the advantages to be had by managing your exposures to media. Your emotional and intellectual state can become too impacted by distant events that don't even educate you about larger important trends in the world. emotional state by selecting your exposures to media becomes more important as media reports become more immediate. When wireless and cellular high speed connections become even faster and cheaper and tablets or video head gear make it easy to watch media everywhere we need to step back and turn off the constant flow.

What I want: Better ability to block stories and types of stories. For example, I'd love to have the ability to tell Google News and news sites "show me no stories that mention Joe Paterno". I don't want to know. Ditto for some politician on trial for using campaign money on his mistress. This isn't due to a general apathy on my part. I've got a voracious appetite for many types of news and can not find enough time to read on subjects that interest me. So all the more need to block out whatever passing topic the masses are obsessing about.

Since I do not watch TV the lack of filters on TV news shows does not present a problem for me. But the online news sites are failing to address the demand for fine grained subject blocking. Would you use this feature if it was available?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 July 04 01:30 PM  Comm Tech News Filters

BYond Politics said at July 7, 2012 7:28 PM:

Yes! I'm interested in developing this but with an eye to preventing any hazards that my arise from being myopic. I'm also without a TV but do stream movies online and hence am disappointed at the small number of suggestions Netflix repeatedly thrusts at me. The joy of the 21st century is the ability to hear from multiple voices. The hazard is having endless voices chatter about TomKat & Penn State. I'd like to block specific stories but recognize that the price could be limited exposure. Even now Google News (my sole source of news links over the past 8 years) has become to focused on its perceived ideas.

When it comes to news, the more the merrier! I want to be exposed to new ideas.

The Sanity Inspector said at July 7, 2012 7:56 PM:

Rather than blocking content, I just set up a few tailor-made sections at google's news aggregator for things that I am interested in, and skim or skip the rest of the headlines. For example, I'm very concerned about persecution of the Church in the Third World. So, I set up a section to retrieve news stories that contain the words Christians Attacked, no quotation marks. I can thus easily keep up with attacks (by you-know-who) in Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Sudan, etc.

rhhardin said at July 8, 2012 3:24 AM:

News is a business, and its product isn't news but you. They sell you to advertisers.

Unfortunately people are not much interested in hard news (think city council meetings), and one-off events can't pay the daily bills.

There's one demographic though that will tune in every day, news or no news, and that's soap opera news women. This isn't even a majority of women, only 40%, but it's enough to support the news business.

Nothing will run that doesn't hold their interest, lest they tune away. If a story would be too technical to interest them, it will be dumbed down or fictionalized so that they're interested.

Their tastes edit every story.

Hence narratives.

Leftist politicians trade off this soap opera news need, and the news business trades off leftist political ideas. It's a business arrangement with the left, rather than an ideology.

If this business model for the news isn't viable, there isn't much of an alternative left. The other ones don't work.

Even the WSJ is written today to hold women's interests.

Lono said at July 10, 2012 12:07 PM:

I would not use a filter as there are too many possible unintended consequences of relying on such fallible mechanisms. However many news sites allow you to organize the types of news you want fairly satisfactorily imho.

One can always go to Google News search and just use the -(term/s) function to filter out stories from the last 24 hours that you do not want to view.

It is funny - now that I am a regular internet user - I cannot handle any kind of push news format like they still use on TV - the irrelevant information overload - (not to mention the endless spin and hyperbole) - drives me completely bonkers - and I dive for the remote to turn the useless "noise" off. I have developed a similar intolerance for commercial interruptions - in any media - as well.

Mthson said at July 15, 2012 1:49 AM:

A commenter suggested to Google a year ago a simple solution: "Put an "X" or "Block forever" option next to each story that Google News already groups together automatically."

Seems like a 3rd party app could do that if Google won't.

Tim Ferris says he ignores all election news until the actual day of the election, and then he reads summaries or solicits opinions from friends before voting.

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