Your Brain on News

The Bird’s Eye View:

In today’s world, the news is everywhere. How does this affect our brain and decision-making? Did you know that constantly obeying our ancient drive to focus on the negative can make us miserable? 

Your Guide:

On this episode of Your Retirement Elevated podcast with Scott Dougan, we’re talking about your brain on news and how this 24/7 news world can affect you negatively.

Humans evolved in an unsafe and uncomfortable world—focusing on potential dangers helped us avoid death. But the world is now safe and comfortable, and much of this old machinery backfires. Constantly obeying our ancient drive to focus on the negative can make us miserable.

If it seems like the news is negative, that’s because it is. Most estimates suggest that about 90 percent of news is negative. A recent study found that even brief exposure to this negative stuff has emotional consequences.

It happened like this: In the 1800s, newspapers at the time covered erudite and boring topics like business and politics. These papers were also expensive, at six cents a copy, which meant that only the rich could afford them.

To fill the financial gap, newspapers decided to sell ad space to businesses. They could use the space they’d purchased to inform readers about their products and services. But advertising only works if people see it.

Nearly 200 years later, the media still works the same way: Grab people’s attention and sell our attention to the highest bidder.

So is the world as bad as the media portrays it? Is it 90 percent bad? No, the world isn’t perfect, but the average person today, for example, is anywhere from 40% to 70% less likely to be hungry, illiterate, poor, or die at a young age than they were in 1990.

The media run 20 times more headlines about murders than they do heart disease, yet Americans are roughly 40 times more likely to die of heart problems than they are homicide. Taking what you hear in the news with a grain of salt may be beneficial to your health and happiness. 

Listen to the full episode or use the timestamps below to find specific segments.

[2:10] Ground news

[6:32] How we got here

[9:34] Here we are

[14:38] Headlines

Thanks for checking out the Your Retirement Elevated Podcast. We’ll talk to you again on the next show.

Ground News Article:

Your Guide:

Home Insight About Scott

Scott Dougan, RFC, Investment Advisor – Contact