Researchers at the Ohio State University have conducted this research that highlights gender differences in anger management. Angry men, probably choose to read online news stories that are negative, to fuel or sustain their anger in anticipation of a chance to even the score. Women on the other hand, tend to read more positive news, before a possible argument to dissipate their anger.
'For women, it is not seen as appropriate for them to retaliate when they're angry, but it is OK for men. And that's reflected in their selection of media content. This shows that even our news consumption is not motivated just by information concerns. We use news to regulate our moods', said Silvia Knobloch, co-author of the study.
The research was conducted on nearly 86 college going students, who were led to believe that they were participating in two unrelated experiments. As a part of the first experiment, the students were asked to select the emotion that best described a photo (fear, anger, disgust, sadness, surprise, happiness), displayed on a computer monitor. 20 faces were displayed on the screen for 2 seconds.
In the first experiment, the students sat in front of a computer screen and given an impossible task: to evaluate photos of people with neutral expressions on their faces. They were asked to select which one of six emotions - anger, fear, sadness, disgust, happiness, and surprise - each face represented. They were shown 20 faces, each for just two seconds.
The anger of the study participants was provoked to a low or high level, by the experiment supervisor who commented on their response. Additionally, the participants were additionally informed that they would be allowed to express their opinion about allowing him to continue his job. This gave an opportunity to retaliate against the person who had angered them.
As a second part, the participants were provided access to an online magazine, 12 stories, previously designated as either being negative or positive. On account of reduced time, the students were asked to pick the stories that kindled their interest, most. Following this the students were given the opportunity to evaluate the supervisor, as promised earlier. It was found that men were likely to read negative news while women showed interest in positive news.
In those, who were not given a chance to retaliate, no difference was however noted in the two groups, probably because; no mood regulation was necessary to prepare for a chance to retaliate.
'You want to make sure your mood fits whatever situation you're in. Media choices can help you do that. Our media use is not just for entertainment or information. It can also be functional, helping us to regulate our moods for what we're doing', concluded Dr. Knobloch.
The study published in the Human Communication research journal, most important signifies that news can do more than just being informative; help regulate an individual's mood, depending on the circumstance.