Study: Older people like reading negative stories about younger counterparts

Read a negative story about a younger counterpart recently -- and enjoy it?

A new study published in the Journal of Communication finds that older people like reading negative stories about young people because it gives them a self-esteem boost.

German researchers from Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany, studied 276 German adults, including 178 people between the ages of 18-30 and 98 aged 55-60.

In the study, adults were shown a "test version" of an online news magazine and given limited time to look over pre-selected articles that were either positive or negative. The articles were paired with a photo that had an older or younger person. Study participants then took a questionnaire after reading the articles to gauge their self-esteem.

Results show that older people were more likely to read stories that painted younger counterparts in a negative light and were not very interested in reading stories of people in their age range -- either positive or negative. Younger people liked positive stories about other youth.

Though the study was conducted in Germany, the researchers believe results hold true in the U.S. as well.

About the author

Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.

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