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Seniors Get Boost From Bad News About the Young
Date:9/2/2010

n some way," she said. "If you get information that confirms that, you might like it."

This could explain why older people who chose negative stories about the young had higher self-esteem.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor who studies happiness at the University of California, Riverside, said the study conflicts with other research that shows happier people "don't compare themselves to people who are worse off."

Lyubomirsky added, "They feel good about themselves, and they don't need it. It's like putting someone down to make yourself feel better."

So why does this research matter? It helps shed light on how people make decisions about what they read, Knobloch-Westerwick said.

"We think people are rational and they use the news to stay up to date as part of the democratic process," she said. "But a lot of other factors play a role. You like to see your own group do well, and get a self-esteem boost out of it."

More information

Get details about mental health from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Communication, Ohio State University, Columbus; Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., professor, psychology, University of California, Riverside; September 2010, Journal of Communication


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