The study examined how people responded to negative content when they searched and surfed. It assessed facial musculature, heart rate and skin conductance.
“Messages that meet readers’ existing informational needs elicit stronger emotional reactions,” says researcher Kevin Wise.
The implications might be interesting for advertising. It might be more effective to place ads near material more frequently searched than surfed, the research suggests.
The next phase will be to explore emotional and cognitive responses to more positive editorial content.