Why The Screen Size Matters When Consuming News Content

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and Texas A&M University reported that consuming news videos on smaller screens reduces our attentiveness and engagement. 

The findings show that the human body witnesses less variability in heart rate and muted changes in sweat when the screen gets smaller.

Although Mobile phones make it easier to access the information anytime and anywhere, regardless, the research reports that news consumption on rather small screens may be less informative and captivating compared to larger screens. 

“We are, to our knowledge, the first to find this effect for news content, and the first to focus on the move from a laptop to the smartphone-size screen. This finding is of some significance given the trend towards news consumption on mobile technology” explained Stuart Soroka, the Michael W. Traugott Collegiate Professor of Communication Studies and Political Science and faculty associate at the Institute for Social Research at U-M.

The two researchers aimed to point out, through the study, that cell phone technology can have both mobilizing and demobilizing effects.

The concretization of the study was built up by displaying a sample of 7 random news stories to the participants, with a variation in subject matter and content.

The news stories were displayed in two types of screens: 13 inches wide and 5 inches wide.

The tracking of the heart rate and skin conductance response during viewing time and their analyses showed that participants had significant reduced reactions and attentiveness to the smaller screen.

 

Source: University of Michigan

 

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