Numerous studies suggest people are more interested in bad news than good news. It’s easier to scare someone into reading or watching a news story than any other way. But some psychologists think they can explain why we have a desire to learn more about the bad, rather than the good.
Scientists suggest this search for bad news can be traced back to our hunter-gather roots since anything that was perceived as threatening had to be dealt with immediately for survival.
But in today’s environment, when we hear about bad news we hop on Twitter, the internet, or the TV. Take September 29, 2008 when the markets faced one of the worst days in decades. CNBC had the highest ratings ever on that same day. Or take a few months earlier – January 22, 2008, the day the Fed cut interest rates by the highest amount in its history. On that day, the search term “Recession” was searched at a rate of more than five times the day before!
There is something, possibly instinctual, that pulls us to learn more about the negative news.