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Description: News sources often emphasize negative information, which can be harmful for mood, memory, and mental health. Here, we investigated information seeking and memory during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants (N=260) completed a naturalistic information seeking task in which they explored brief articles in a virtual Newsroom. In the Reflection condition, participants were prompted to pause and reflect on how information made them feel, whereas participants in the No-Reflection condition browsed uninterrupted. We later assessed memory for the Newsroom information. Crucially, our reflection intervention reduced negativity biases in memory. No-Reflection participants were biased to remember negative information and forget positive information, especially if they were in a negative mood state. In contrast, Reflection participants showed better memory for positive information, especially if it was surprising. Overall, we found that a simple intervention—pausing to reflect while reading news—restored the balance between positive and negative information in memory.


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