“If you have a highly dim view of journalism, and journalism tends to report on some things that have gone wrong in the world yesterday, and if you’re not in a position to do anything about those things, it’s not really obvious why you would spend very much time with it, in particular once the first ripple of interest in a new crisis has passed, ” says Nielsen.
In expressions of the mental effects of engaging with this crisis specifically, studies are currently ongoing. But there is a close relationship between overconsumption of information and general increased suspicion. The World Health Organization specifically recommends tuning out the report if you change distressed. “We could take from that that beings may be listening to the advice, and that’s why we’re learn little traffic, ” says Cherie Armour, a professor of psychological trauma and mental health in the School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast. “There’s a penalty threshold between what is helpful anxiety and what crisscross the line.”
There is also a complex interplay between this anxiety and our commitment with the report. “From the very limited research which we have available–from “Hong kongs” in the H1N1 epidemic–people started out by being quite anxious, and then as duration gone on there anxiety actually was downed, ” says Richard Bentall, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Sheffield. “That anxiety was a predictor of behavior with respect to the virus, and “its also” probably a predictor of interpret stuff in newspapers.”
People, justifies Bentall, tend to be classified into’ monitors’ and’ blunters’. The former tend to search for more information when uneasy; the latter tend to block it out. “This is speculation, but what we might be seeing is the population sorting itself out into these two different groups, ” he says.
The other outcome of a sustained period of news coverage of one topic is that the public becomes desensitized, in a similar process to the way that revelation regiman medications phobias. “In a acces, the more we hear it, the less we notice it, ” says Armour. “And of course, I’m not saying that people are not note the Covid-1 9 place. But in the context of Covid-1 9 information, we hear the views, we see it, but we’ve now begun to filter out the noise.”
But the public’s mood and posture towards the virus, and the measures that have been put in place to slow its spread, will have long term behavioral results that will affect the progress of the pandemic. Worryingly, in the Hong Kong study, those who became more desensitized tended not to socially length. “The assumption of some of these prototypes is that going scared people to stay inside harbours back the epidemic, but if parties do become desensitized, then and we still have preparations difficulties, ” says Bentall.
What is certain is that paying attention to some news is beneficial: there is a link between using news organizations as a source of information about coronavirus and a greater understanding of the crisis. News books are simply more informed.
Journalists have to hold the public’s attention as a matter of urgency, says Nielsen. “If the government approach in the future starts to look for grey zones between a full lockdown and a full opening, you are well aware, people who aren’t paying attention are going to have a very hard time deciphering what exactly they’re supposed to do, ” he says.
This story originally appeared on WIRED UK.