September 19, 2012

PR Newswire
People who use smartphones to get local or national news tend to prefer emotionally rewarding content like sports and videos over negative content like disasters and crime, according to new research.

A study by the Reynolds Journalism Institute and HCD Research compared people’s media use patterns to their fundamental psychological motivations (seeking rewards vs. avoiding threats).

These “reward seeker” types were more than twice as likely (27 percent) to say their smartphones are very important for accessing news. Among the “threat avoider” types, only 12 percent felt that way. Something to think about when planning the content for your mobile apps — be sure there’s room for the happy, fun, rewarding news and information.

For what it’s worth, the study found reward seekers were also “significantly more likely to comment on, recommend and share online news stories than threat avoiders” and “tend to be aged 22-45 and are more likely to be male.”

Earlier: One of the researchers, Paul Bolls, discussed how the brain perceives and processes online news in a Poynter chat || Related: More of Bolls’ research (RJI) | Missouri J-School’s Psychological Research on Information and Media Effects Lab | 5 reasons people share news & how you can get them to share yours

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Jeff Sonderman ( is the Digital Media Fellow at The Poynter Institute. He focuses on innovations and strategies for mobile platforms and social media in…
Jeff Sonderman

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