We are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be. This is an edited extract from an essay first published at dobelli.com. News increases cognitive errors. The division was so bad that year that the NFL decided to blow it up and create a new division. Negative world news, regarding acts of violence or the impact of a devastating hurricane, for example, can make people feel powerless and defeated. Phones, social media and WiFi make news spread like wildfire, and when something bad breaks, it’s tough to unplug. Media organisations want you to believe that news offers you some sort of a competitive advantage. In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. News outlets in the rest of the world, too, became gloomier and gloomier from the late 1970s to the present day. Because whenever a link appears, your brain has to at least make the choice not to click, which in itself is distracting. In other words, your body finds itself in a state of chronic stress. Fiscal irresponsibility is under-rated. We get anxious when we're cut off from the flow of news. The more news we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus. The important stories are non-stories: slow, powerful movements that develop below journalists' radar but have a transforming effect. Take the following event (borrowed from Nassim Taleb). Long journal articles and in-depth books are good, too. All the latest gaming news, game reviews and trailers ... Why Cats' Movie Reviews Are So Negative. 1. As stories develop, we want to know how they continue. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don't really concern our lives and don't require thinking. It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed by the news, especially when good news stories often seem hard to come by. News is an intentional interruption system. The relationship is inverted. News items are bubbles popping on the surface of a deeper world. News misleads. Stop consuming it altogether, Out of the 10,000 news stories you may have read in the last 12 months, did even one allow you to make a better decision about a serious matter in your life, asks Rolf Dobelli. Investigative journalism is always relevant. News is irrelevant. Nurses are under-rated. Our brains crave stories that "make sense" – even if they don't correspond to reality. Experts explain this history and why these stories are so … But attention is. It's not because they got older or their schedules became more onerous. Why give away your mind? It focuses on discrete events, generally those that took place since the last edition (in earlier times, the day before; now, seconds before). News stories are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. News kills creativity. They have been talking n about the new shooting system of NBA 2K21. Their brains enjoy a wide, uninhabited space that emboldens them to come up with and pursue novel ideas. .. One consequence is that many Americans today have difficulty imagining, valuing or even believing in the promise of incremental system change, which leads to a greater appetite for revolutionary, smash-the-machine change.”. Well that’s why 90% of the news in the newspaper and on television is negative because that’s what we pay attention to. Photograph: Guardian/Graphic. News makes us passive. News is easy to digest. The only solution: cut yourself off from news consumption entirely. Today we know that this is not the case. This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. News makes us shallow thinkers. It’s easy to see how the Availability heuristic, stoked by the news policy “If it bleeds, it leads,” could induce a sense of gloom about the state of the world. The peace researcher John Galtung pointed out that if a newspaper came out once every 50 years, it would not report half a century of celebrity gossip and political scandals. Buy it for £7.99 at guardianbookshop.co.uk, News is bad for your health. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind. Relentless negativity can have other unintended consequences, and recently a few journalists have begun to point them out. The massive scale of the current bushfire crisis has shocked Australians but there’s another reason why these fires are different. With hundreds of arbitrary storylines in our heads, this craving is increasingly compelling and hard to ignore. Share Share Tweet Email. In many walks of life this is a serviceable rule of thumb. “Negative superlatives.” That’s what this new study discovered, or really confirmed, what works in the news business. By Jeremy Layton Dec 20, 2019. That's why we experience almost no saturation. The relevant versus the new is the fundamental battle of the current age. One potential reason the news affects us so much is the so-called “negativity bias”, a well-known psychological quirk which means we pay more attention to … But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. Why? One reason for this arrogance is the absolutely punishing media coverage of Trump. The experts say there are a multitude of factors at play. News leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads. But the car is flashy, it's dramatic, it's a person (non-abstract), and it's news that's cheap to produce. The person in the car. The negative bias is our tendency not only to register negative stimuli more readily but also to dwell on these events. It's a bit of a stretch, but I would not be surprised if news consumption, at least partially contributes to the widespread disease of depression. Focusing on negative information may be a perfectly reasonable way of managing a complex news environment. Bornstein and Rosenberg don’t blame the usual culprits (cable TV, social media, late-night comedians) but instead trace it to the shift during the Vietnam and Watergate eras from glorifying leaders to checking their power—with an overshoot toward indiscriminate cynicism, in which everything about America’s civic actors invites an aggressive takedown. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. In reality, news consumption is a competitive disadvantage. Before that, Soros was connected to the groups demanding election recounts after the November 8th election and Soros money was funding more protests during these efforts. The car. The daily repetition of news about things we can't act upon makes us passive. My blog, News To Live By, is 100 percent devoted to the idea that reading the news is one of the smartest ways to spend our time. That's why we experience almost no saturation. Journalists need crises to dramatize news, … I don't know a single truly creative mind who is a news junkie – not a writer, not a composer, mathematician, physician, scientist, musician, designer, architect or painter. It’s not gonna help,” or “I could donate money, but there’s just gonna be another kid who’s starving next week.”. That's not the case. This is one reason that mathematicians, novelists, composers and entrepreneurs often produce their most creative works at a young age. It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitised, sarcastic and fatalistic. That in turn provides an easy formula for pessimists on the editorial page: make a list of all the worst things that are happening anywhere on the planet that week, and you have an impressive-sounding—but ultimately irrational—case that civilization has never faced greater peril. Not surprisingly, many people have a fear of flying, but almost no one has a fear of driving. News works like a drug. News is toxic to your body. It's much easier to recognise what's new. The data scientist Kalev Leetaru applied a technique called sentiment mining to every article published in the New York Times between 1945 and 2005, and to an archive of translated articles and broadcasts from 130 countries between 1979 and 2010. Many fall for that. On the other hand, I know a bunch of viciously uncreative minds who consume news like drugs. The news media and the government are entwined in a vicious circle of mutual manipulation, mythmaking, and self-interest. So terrorism is over-rated. Magazine covers warn us of coming anarchies, plagues, epidemics, collapses, and so many “crises” (farm, health, retirement, welfare, energy, deficit) that copywriters have had to escalate to the redundant “serious crisis.”. A car drives over a bridge, and the bridge collapses. The nature of news is likely to distort people’s view of the world because of a mental bug that the psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman called the Availability heuristic: people estimate the probability of an event or the frequency of a kind of thing by the ease with which instances come to mind. Soros was reportedly behind the airport protests after President Trump’s election. Some of Davey’s research has shown that negative TV news is a significant mood-changer, and the moods it tends to produce are sadness and anxiety. Now, by default, I’m a sensitive person. Most news consumers – even if they used to be avid book readers – have lost the ability to absorb lengthy articles or books. How he experienced the crash (if he survived). But, in many cases, businesses are still treating their physical stores as mere points of transaction when, really, they need to do so much more. Why you can trust Sky News The pandemic has laid bare deep-rooted problems and many Angelenos are cutting their losses and leaving the city. The researchers found that, on average, a slight majority of viewers demonstrated a bias toward more negative news. Watching an airplane crash on television is going to change your attitude toward that risk, regardless of its real probability. The Art of Thinking Clearly: Better Thinking, Better Decisions by Rolf Dobelli is published by Sceptre, £9.99. High glucocorticoid levels cause impaired digestion, lack of growth (cell, hair, bone), nervousness and susceptibility to infections. Scientists used to think that the dense connections formed among the 100 billion neurons inside our skulls were largely fixed by the time we reached adulthood. Will accumulating facts help you understand the world? Magazine covers warn us of coming anarchies, plagues, epidemics, collapses, and so many “crises” (farm, health, retirement, welfare, energy, deficit) that copywriters have had to escalate to the redundant “serious crisis.”. n the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. Astronauts are over-rated. If you are looking for new solutions, don't. The scientific term is "learned helplessness". If you think you can compensate with the strength of your own inner contemplation, you are wrong. But that is all irrelevant. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind. Long-range memory's capacity is nearly infinite, but working memory is limited to a certain amount of slippery data. Comment. Why is the media so negative? We are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be. But important findings don't have to arrive in the form of news. Wow. ‘The nature of news is likely to distort people’s view of the world.’, very day the news is filled with stories about war, terrorism, crime, pollution, inequality, drug abuse and oppression. The consequences of negative news are themselves negative. Everything's Falling Apart, so Why Is the Stock Market Soaring? The consequences of negative news are themselves negative. It would report momentous global changes such as the increase in life expectancy. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don't really concern our lives and don't require thinking. Online news has an even worse impact. It constantly triggers the limbic system. The less news you consume, the bigger the advantage you have. A Golden Age of Journalism . We need reporting that polices our institutions and uncovers truth. Information is no longer a scarce commodity. News is easy to digest. If you want to come up with old solutions, read news. Sadly, no. Just kidding, that didn't happen, but the division, which existed until 2002, was really bad. News pieces are specifically engineered to interrupt you. The more "news factoids" you digest, the less of the big picture you will understand. Thinking requires concentration. Any journalist who writes, "The market moved because of X" or "the company went bankrupt because of Y" is an idiot. The solution? And it’s not just the headlines we’re talking about; it’s the op-eds and long-form stories as well. And among the things that do happen, the positive and negative ones unfold on different timelines. This psychological phenomenon explains why bad first impressions can be so difficult to overcome and why past traumas can have such long lingering effects. News inhibits thinking. Read more to know “why is shooting so … The point is: the consumption of news is irrelevant to you. They have also been asking questions like, “why is shooting so hard in NBA 2K21?” Thus to help improve your gaming experience, we have answered these questions. I have now gone without news for four years, so I can see, feel and report the effects of this freedom first-hand: less disruption, less anxiety, deeper thinking, more time, more insights. In alm… Where he came from. People rank tornadoes (which kill about 50 Americans a year) as a more common cause of death than asthma (which kills more than 4,000 Americans a year), presumably because tornadoes make for better television. After four, five pages they get tired, their concentration vanishes, they become restless. News feeds the mother of all cognitive errors: confirmation bias. Concentration requires uninterrupted time. I am fed up with this cheap way of "explaining" the world. News has no explanatory power. Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones. 0. In the words of Warren Buffett: "What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact." So, if you’re feeling down about the world, we’ve got some tips for you. But people find it very difficult to recognise what's relevant. What does the news media focus on? A week before that Soros was reportedly behind 50 Groups involved in the ‘Women’s Protests’ the day after the inauguration. News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. What's relevant? They point to icons like TV news pioneer Edward R. Murrow as exemplars of this supposed golden age of journalism. Where he planned to go. News content is predominantly negative because humans tend to be more attentive to negative information. I cried when the bad news first broke and again reading the details of his daughter's temporary social silence after being on the receiving end of appalling comments. Homelessness has … The other potential side-effects include fear, aggression, tunnel-vision and desensitisation. The path from short-term to long-term memory is a choke-point in the brain, but anything you want to understand must pass through it. If more information leads to higher economic success, we'd expect journalists to be at the top of the pyramid. That's the underlying risk that has been lurking, and could lurk in other bridges. Far from being better informed, heavy newswatchers can become miscalibrated. News severely affects memory. This largely held across countries and cultures, Soroka said. Why we’re so bad at counting the calories we eat, drink or burn December 10, 2020 8.35am EST Kaitlin Woolley , Cornell University , Peggy Liu , University of Pittsburgh Bankers and economists – who have powerful incentives to compensate for news-borne hazards – have shown that they cannot. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply. Consumers of negative news, not surprisingly, become glum: a recent literature review cited “misperception of risk, anxiety, lower mood levels, learned helplessness, contempt and hostility towards others, desensitization, and in some cases, ... complete avoidance of the news.” And they become fatalistic, saying things like “Why should I vote? Negativity bias means that we can't turn negative news off. Out of the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last 12 months, name one that – because you consumed it – allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career or your business. The coronavirus pandemic did what some might have thought … If you read the newspaper for 15 minutes each morning, then check the news for 15 minutes during lunch and 15 minutes before you go to bed, then add five minutes here and there when you're at work, then count distraction and refocusing time, you will lose at least half a day every week. Society needs journalism – but in a different way. It also exacerbates another cognitive error: the story bias. 3 reasons investors are shrugging off the bad news. News outlets in the rest of the world, too, became gloomier and gloomier from the late 1970s to the present day. We are not rational enough to be exposed to the press. It's because the physical structure of their brains has changed. And it’s not just the headlines we’re talking about; it’s the op-eds and long-form stories as well. They are like viruses that steal attention for their own purposes.