Media Coverage, Personal Anxiety Influence Facts During Disease Outbreak

The health facts presented by mass media in the midst of a disease outbreak are likely to influence what we remember about the disease — new research suggests that the same mass media coverage may also influence the facts that we forget.

The findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, indicate that personal anxiety and mass media coverage interact to determine what people remember about a disease.

The researchers conducted an online study with 460 adult participants in the US. The participants learned about specific symptoms, risk factors, diagnostic tools, and aftereffects associated with meningococcal disease and then read a message about the disease.

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