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Title: Reacting to headline news: Circumstances leading to causal explanations versus implicational concerns
Authors: Singh, R.
Kaur, S. 
Junid, F.B.
Self, W.T.
Keywords: Communitarian consciousness
Social order
Issue Date: Feb-2011
Citation: Singh, R., Kaur, S., Junid, F.B., Self, W.T. (2011-02). Reacting to headline news: Circumstances leading to causal explanations versus implicational concerns. International Journal of Psychology 46 (1) : 63-70. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: How do people react to the headline news they receive? According to the model of people as intuitive scientists (Kelley, 1972; Ross, 1977), people-like scientists-make causal explanations (i.e., why did an event take place?) and assign responsibility to the person, the situation, or both. However, a more recently proposed social-functionalist model (Tetlock, 2002) views people less as intuitive scientists trying to understand the world and more as intuitive prosecutors trying to protect a fragile social order. Thus, implicational concerns (i.e., how would it affect people's lives, properties, and liberties?) with the news can also be likely reactions. Given the prescriptions of these models, the present authors tested the hypotheses that news reports evoke both causal explanations and implicational concerns among viewers, and that the degree of the two reactions depends on the valence (positive vs. negative) and theme (whether it is unusual or social order-linked) of the news. Singaporeans (N = 80) read one piece of headline news that represented a crossed level of valence (negative vs. positive) and theme (unusual vs. social order), and indicated the likelihood of causal explanations and implicational concerns as their first response to it. As hypothesized, positive news led to a greater likelihood of showing implicational concerns than of making causal explanations, the difference being reversed in the case of negative news; unusual news led to a greater likelihood of making causal explanations than of showing implication concerns; the likelihood of having implicational concerns with news related to social order was higher than making that of causal explanations; and the two responses were equally likely in the case of negative news. Overall, these results support a view of people as intuitive prosecutors interested in both causal explanations of and implicational concerns with a news report. © 2010 International Union of Psychological Science.
Source Title: International Journal of Psychology
ISSN: 00207594
DOI: 10.1080/00207594.2010.516829
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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