Chapter

News as reality-inducing, survival-relevant, and gender-specific stimuli

Maria Elizabeth Grabe

in Applied Evolutionary Psychology

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199586073
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731358 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586073.003.0022
News as reality-inducing, survival-relevant, and gender-specific stimuli

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The idea that the human brain struggles to distinguish--at least at some level--between mediated and physical reality opened the door for evolutionary psychology perspectives to enter the young field of media scholarship.  Specifically, this line of thinking is grounded in the idea that the human brain has not yet evolved the mechanisms for distinction drawing.  Thus during the initial seconds of exposure to media content, it treats it as real; and the more lifelike, negative, and compelling the media message, the more seamless the equation with the physical world. This perspective, known as the media equation, is slowest to find traction in the specific media subfield of news research. This chapter will pay homage to the pioneers of the media equasion perspective, quibble a bit with them, tackle the place of media in the life history of Homo sapiens, and focus on journalism as a specific area of media research in desperate need of an Evolutionary Psychology plunge.

Keywords: media; reality; media equation; visual processing; information processing; gender variance; negative news; compelling images; journalism; news and informed citizens

Chapter.  9629 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psychology

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