Engaging the Audience with Biased News: An Exploratory Study on Prejudice and Engagement
The persuasiveness of a narrative is increased by the audience’s engagement with it, which in turn depends on the extent to which its needs and goals are served by the narrative. This study considers whether indulging the audience’s prejudice might be a way to serve their needs and increase engagement. Two different versions of a news videoclip, one neutral and one prejudiced, were displayed in a between-participants design (N = 44). The participants’ familiarity with the topic and prejudice against it were measured, and their effect on the engagement with the two types of video was tested. The analysis shows an indifference for biased content, equally engaging than nonbiased; they also show an effect of familiarity. These first results are relevant to the current debate about biased news and the potential manipulative role of personalized content recommendations.
KeywordsEngagement Prejudice News Narrative persuasion
We thank Roberto Barattini for having recorded his voice as a narrator in the video.
- 3.Bruner, J.S.: Actual Minds. Possible Worlds. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (2009)Google Scholar
- 6.Dal Cin, S., Zanna, M.P., Fong, G.T.: Narrative persuasion and overcoming resistance. In: Knowles, E.S., Linn, J.A. (eds.) Resistance and Persuasion, pp. 175–191. Erlbaum, London (2004)Google Scholar
- 11.Freeman, J.B., Pauker, K., Apfelbaum, E.P., Ambady, N.: Continuous dynamics in the real-time perception of race. JESP 46, 179–185 (2010)Google Scholar
- 14.Green, M.C., Brock, T.C.: The role of transportation in the persuasiveness of public narratives. JPSP 79(5), 701 (2000)Google Scholar
- 16.Lavie, T., Sela, M., Oppenheim, I., Inbar, O., Meyer, J.: User attitudes towards news content personalization. IJHCS 68(8), 483–495 (2010)Google Scholar
- 18.McCay-Peet, L., Lalmas, M., Navalpakkam, V.: On saliency, affect and focused attention. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 541–550. ACM, New York (2012)Google Scholar
- 20.O’Brien, H.L.: The role of story and media in user engagement with online news. In: Proceedings of the 41st Canadian Association for Information Science Conference, Victoria, British Columbia (2013)Google Scholar
- 22.O’Brien, H.L., Cairns, P.: An empirical evaluation of the user engagement scale (UES) in online news environments. IPM 51, 413–427 (2015)Google Scholar
- 23.O’Brien, H.L., Cairns, P., Hall, M.: A practical approach to measuring user engagement with the refined user engagement scale (UES) and new UES short form. IJHCS 112, 28–39 (2018)Google Scholar
- 24.O’Brien, H.L., McKay, J.: What makes online news interesting? Personal and situational interest and the effect on behavioral intentions. In: Proceedings of the ASIST Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, 15–19 October 2016, 6 p. (2016)Google Scholar
- 26.Ochs, E., Capps, L.: Living Narrative: Creating Lives in Everyday Storytelling. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (2009)Google Scholar
- 27.Slater, M.D., Rouner, D.: Entertainment-education and elaboration likelihood: understanding the processing of narrative persuasion. Commun. Theory 12(2), 173–191 (2002)Google Scholar