Men and Women Read News Differently: The Effects of Story Structure on the Cognitive Processing of Text

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Abstract

This study explored how the structure of written news affects men and women differently in terms of cognition. In a 2 (Structure) × 2 (Story) × 2 (Sex) mixed design, participants read two inverted pyramid and two chronological news stories, each on a different topic. Dependent measures included secondary task reaction times (STRTs), cued recall, recognition accuracy, and text comprehension. Women had slower reaction times than men across stories, but a significant interaction showed their use of cognitive resources was less affected by variations in story structure. These results are discussed in the context of a comprehensibility interpretation of the STRT measure. The findings suggest that the common use of the inverted pyramid structure, which has been criticized as difficult to comprehend, may not explain the decrease in female news readers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-25
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Media Psychology
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • STRT
  • cognitive processing
  • limited capacity model of motivated mediated message processing
  • news
  • reading
  • sex differences

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