Our many online routines leave behind trails of data about our identities, habits, preferences and connections. These data serve as filters when we seek out information, yielding relevant results and content of interest. However, commercial and political parties can use the same data to personalize persuasive messages, and some even use psychological profiles to target individuals. With this revelation come concerns that news can be framed to appeal to individual personalities.
This study investigates the relationship between personality and news engagement among predominantly young Norwegian adults across different news angles. It addresses the Big Five personality traits as well as rational and experiential information-processing styles. The results provide support for our hypothesis on the relation between neuroticism and lowered news engagement, although the effect sizes are small. When exploring isolated news stories, we find greater differentiation among the participants, suggesting that individuals’ news interest really does start at the headline.
Aalberg, T., Blekesaune, A. & Elvestad, E. (2013). Media choice and informed democracy: Toward increasing news consumption gaps in Europe? International Journal of Press/Politics, 18(3): 281-303.
Biyani, P., Tsioutsiouliklis, K. & Blackmer, J. (2016). “8 amazing secrets for getting more clicks”: Detecting clickbaits in news streams using article informality. In Proceedings of the thirtieth AAA1 conference on artificial intelligence (AAAI-16) 94-100.
Blom, J. N. & Hansen, K. R. (2015). Click bait: Forward-reference as lure in online news headlines. Journal of Pragmatics, 76: 87-100.
Cabañas, J. G., Cuevas, A. & Cuevas, R. (2018). Facebook use of sensitive data for advertising in Europe. ArXiv e-prints [online]. Retrieved from https://arxiv.org/abs/1802.05030 [accessed 2018, March 28].
Elvestad, E., Blekesaune, A. & Aalberg, T. (2014). The polarized news audience? A longitudinal study of news-seekers and news-avoiders in Europe. In Annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, 2014, August 28-31, Washington, D.C.
Engvik, H. & Claussen, S. (2011). Norsk kortversjon av Big Five Inventory (BFI-20) [Norwegian short version of the Big Five Inventory (BFI-20)]. Tidsskrift for Norsk Psykologforening, 48: 869-872.
Ferguson, C. J. (2009). An effect size primer: A guide for clinicians and researchers. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 40(5): 532-538.
Flaxman, S., Goel, S. & Rao, J. M. (2016). Filter bubbles, echo chambers, and online news consumption. Public Opinion Quarterly, 80: 298-320.
Hannak, A., Sapiezynski, P., Molavi Kakhki, A., Krishnamurthy, B., Lazer, D., Mislove, A. & Wilson, C. (2013). Measuring personalization of web search. In Proceedings of the 22nd international conference on World Wide Web (527-538).
Hermida, A., Fletcher, F., Korell, D. & Logan, D. (2012). Share, like, recommend: Decoding the social media news consumer. Journalism Studies, 13(5-6): 815-824.
Hille, S. & Bakker, P. (2013). I like news. Searching for the “Holy Grail” of social media: The use of Face-book by Dutch news media and their audiences. European Journal of Communication, 28(6): 663-680.
Kim, A. & Dennis, A. R. (2017). Says who? How news presentation format influences perceived believability and the engagement level of social media users. Kelley School of Business Research Papers, 17-48 [online]. Retrieved from https://ssrn.com/abstract=2987866 [accessed 2017, November 17].
Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D. & Graepel, T. (2013). Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(15): 5802-5805.
Krumsvik, A. H. (2017). Redefining user involvement in digital news media. Journalism Practice, 12(1): 19-31.
Ksiazek, T. B., Malthouse, E. C. & Webster, J. G. (2010). News-seekers and avoiders: Exploring patterns of total news consumption across media and the relationship to civic participation. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 54(4): 551-568.
Kümpel, A. S., Karnowski, V. & Keyling, T. (2015). News sharing in social media: A review of current research on news sharing users, content, and networks. Social Media and Society, 1(2): 1-14.
Moe, A. & Kleiven, H. H. (2016). Bruksmangfold. En analyse av nordmenns nyhetskonsum. TFoU-rapport 2016:7. Steinkjer: Trøndelag R&D Institute.
Nagy, P. & Neff, G. (2015). Imagined affordance: Reconstructing a keyword for communication theory. Social Media and Society, 1(2).
Pacini, R. & Epstein, S. (1999). The relation of rational and experiential information processing styles to personality, basic beliefs, and the ratio-bias phenomenon. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76(6): 972-987.
Paunonen, S. V. (2003). Big Five factors of personality and replicated predictions of behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2): 411-424.
Perse, E. M. (1992). Predicting attention to local television news: Need for cognition and motives for viewing. Communication Reports, 5(1): 40-49.
Potthast, M., Köpsel, S., Stein, B. & Hagen, M. (2016). Clickbait detection. In N. Ferro et al. (eds.), Advances in information retrieval. ECIR 2016. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 9626. Cham: Springer.
Rammstedt, B. & John, O. P. (2007). Measuring personality in one minute or less: A 10-item short version of the Big Five Inventory in English and German. Journal of Research in Personality, 41: 203-212.
Reis, J. C. S., Kwak, H., An, J., Messias, J. & Benevenuto, F. (2017). Demographics of news sharing in the U.S. Twittersphere. In Proceedings of the 28th ACM conference on hypertext and social media (HT’17).
Rony, M. M. U., Hassan, N. & Yousuf, M. (2017). Diving deep into clickbaits: Who use them, to what extents in which topics with what effects? In Proceedings of the 2017 IEEE/ACM international conference on advances in social networks analysis and mining (pp. 232-239) Retrieved from https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.09400.
Ryan. T. & Xenos, S. (2011). Who uses Facebook? An investigation into the relationship between the Big Five, shyness, narcissism, loneliness, and Facebook usage. Computers in Human Behavior, 27: 1658-1664.
Sakariassen, H., Hovden, J. F. & Moe, H. Bruksmønstre for digitale nyheter [Patterns of use for digital news.]. Reuters Institute digital news report, Norge 2017. Bergen: Universitetet i Bergen.
Schmitt, D. P., Allik, J., McCrae, R. R. & Benet-Martínez, V. (2007). The geographic distribution of Big Five personality traits: Patterns and profiles of human self-description across 56 nations. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 38(2): 173-212.
SSB. (2018). Bruk av IKT i husholdningene. 11437: Bruk av sosiale medier, etter kjønn og alder (prosent) 2011–2018 [Domestic use of ICT. 11437: Use of social media, by gender and age (per cent)]. Statistisk sentralbyrå. Retrieved from https://www.ssb.no/statbank/table/11437 [accessed 2018, October 29].
Tandoc Jr., E. C., Wei Lim, Z. & Ling, R. (2018). Defining “fake news”. Digital Journalism, 6(2): 137-153.
Tsfati, Y. & Cappella, J. N. (2005). Why do people watch news they do not trust? The need for cognition as a moderator in the association between news media skepticism and exposure. Media Psychology, 7: 251-271.
Tuten, T. L. & Bosnjak, M. (2001). Understanding differences in web usage: The role of need for cognition and the five factor model of personality. Social Behavior and Personality, 29(4): 391398.
Wills, C. E. & Tatar, C. (2012). Understanding what they do with what they know. In Proceedings of the 2012 ACM workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society (WPES ‘12), 13-18.
Youyou, W., Kosinski, M. & Stillwell, D. (2015). Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(4): 1036-1040.
Zheng, G., Zhang, F., Zheng, Z., Xiang, Y., Yuan, N. J., Xie, X., & Li, Z. (2018). DRN: A deep reinforcement learning framework for news recommendation. In Proceedings of the 2018 World Wide Web Conference on World Wide Web, 167-176.