Early event-related brain potentials that reflect interest for content information in the media

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This study investigated the relationship between event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to abridged content information in the media and the subsequent decisions to view the full content. Student volunteers participated in a task that simulated information selection on the basis of the content information. Screenshots of television clips and headlines of news articles on the Web were used as content information for the image condition and the headline condition, respectively. Following presentation of a stimulus containing content information, participants decided whether or not they would view the full content by pressing a select or a reject button. When the select button was pressed, participants were presented with a television clip or a news article. When the reject button was pressed, participants continued on to the next trial, without viewing further. In comparison with rejected stimuli, selected stimuli elicited a larger negative component, with a peak latency of ∼250 ms. The increase in the negative component was independent of the type of visual stimulus. These results suggest that interest toward content information is reflected in early-stage event-related brain potential responses.

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