How kindness can counteract the effects of bad news

marine aguilar

A new study published in the journal one more concluded to see news related to people’s kindness arise after witnessing others commit unethical acts, such as terrorist attacks less negative emotions on the audience. They also make people feel that humanity is good, unlike if they only see bad news.

Positive news can help you digest negative ones better.iStock

For the study, researchers recruited 1,800 people and divided them into different groups, who were shown video news stories and short written news stories lasting one to three minutes.

material was on a terrorist attack that occurred recently in the UK or a similar event, in response to an attack or unrelated acts of human kindness, and light-hearted, non-serious aspects of life.

Depending on whether they belonged to one group or another, participants were shown only news about unethical actions, only news about human kindness, a mix of both, and unethical news and funny news.

what happened Those who saw only immoral-themed news reported experiencing more negative emotions, They had fewer positive emotions and a negative perception of humanity and society.

Participants who viewed unethical news about human kindness had fewer negative feelings and also had a decrease or increase in positive feelings. This group, which was labeled as the “immorality and goodness” group, had a more positive perception of humanity than the “immorality” group alone compared to the previous group.


Another group of people was shown immoral news, followed by funny news. This group was classified as “immorality and fun”. it turned out that The “immorality and goodness” group felt that the negative effects of bad news wear off too soon. After watching the “kind” news compared to the “immorality and fun” group. He also saw the society with better eyes.

The study results suggest that positive news can help to better digest negative news. Viewing acts of kindness worked better than viewing funny scenes in persuading participants to believe that people are generally kind.

“News that shows the best of humanity takes the heat off stories that explore the worst of humanity. It allows people to have a core belief that is vital to good mental health: that the world and The people living in it are fundamentally good,” the scientists write.

Reference: Buchanan K, Sandstrom GM (2023) Buffering the effects of bad news: Exposure to others’ kindness reduces the adverse effects of witnessing others’ immorality. PLOS ONE 18(5): e0284438.

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