Irish newspapers are full of stories about the people they cover, but a new study has found they are also full of news stories about people.
The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, examined the stories of 1,600 people over a period of 25 years, using data from the General Social Survey (GSS).
The researchers then looked at the frequency of stories that covered people, as well as the frequency at which people spoke about the stories.
The findings showed the Irish papers were a surprisingly good predictor of people’s stories about themselves, but the newspapers were not as predictive as those that were not related to the stories, the researchers found.
“We did not find that Irish newspapers were associated with stories about individual people, but rather with the stories they reported about people in general,” said Dr David M. Brown, a researcher from the University of Illinois at Chicago who led the study.
“The Irish papers that were related to people were typically the stories about social issues, but they were not necessarily about people’s experiences of discrimination, racism, and inequality.
For instance, we did not see an association between newspapers reporting on the Irish famine in the early 1980s and stories about Irish people in Ireland, but we did see a negative association with stories from the Irish People’s Congress and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in the late 1980s.”
The study was conducted at the University College Cork by Dr Brown, Dr Joanna R. Kelly, and Dr Maryanne A. Molloy, all of the Department of Psychology at UCC.
They analysed data from more than 1,200 people who participated in the General Public Survey from 1973 to 2007.
They were followed up to examine the impact of newspaper coverage on their lives, their health and their mental health.
In addition to the newspaper articles, the participants were asked to report how often they talked about the Irish news.
They also had to give their age, ethnicity and gender, as part of a self-report measure of their social identity.
Dr Brown and Dr Kelly were interested in what kind of information the newspapers provided.
“We wanted to understand the degree to which the information that we gave was related to news coverage of people, and how much of it was based on information about other people,” Dr Brown said.
“We wanted an understanding of the extent to which newspapers were telling people what to think about them.”
Dr Kelly said that it was not surprising that newspapers would be more predictive of people than the general public because people were more likely to read newspapers.
“When people are reading a newspaper, they’re more likely than a general population to take in information that’s relevant to that story, and this information might be relevant to the story itself,” Dr Kelly said.
“They’re more inclined to report on the stories that are related to them.”
A study published in 2015 found that reading a story about someone in the UK who was of a different race than yourself was more likely for women than men.
The findings suggest that stories about race were less relevant to people’s lives than those about sex, but there is a correlation between newspapers’ coverage of race and news stories that dealt with the issue.
The researchers said that the findings showed newspapers were a useful way to understand how people in the general population are thinking.
“News is very much a part of our lives and we have an interest in knowing how people are thinking about their lives,” Dr Dwayne E. Linn said.
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