ERIC Number: ED248499
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr-7
Reference Count: 0
Paradoxes and Quirks in Human Communications Behavior and Some Explanatory Theories.
Haskins, Jack B.
A literature review of communications, psychological, physiological and other sociobehavioral research literature reveals a number of paradoxes regarding the emphasis by information gatekeepers, media, and audiences on messages that are negative, critical, pessimistic, conflict-and-tension-producing, skeptical, punitive, threatening, fear-inducing, and otherwise unpleasant in various ways. This attraction to bad news can, in part, be explained by various psychobiological and sociobiological theories that suggest all human behavior is motivated by a biological need for electrical stimuli of the brain, including both positive/pleasure/reward and negative/displeasure/punishment neurological areas. This results in true survival needs (motives/drives/instincts) for both pleasant, immediately rewarding stimuli and unpleasant, immediately punishing stimuli. Morbid curiosity arises from the particular need for stimulation in the negative brain areas. When the actual environment becomes relatively safe, stable, and routine--as it is in most cultures today--the biological need for danger may take, as one of its outlets, the vicarious thrills offered by various contents of mass media. (HOD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Morbid Curiosity
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Communications Research Symposium (5th, Knoxville, TN, April 7, 1981).