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The structure of terror : cognitive and emotional processing of 9/11 newscasters Jhangiani, Rajiv Sunil


Transcripts of live news broadcasts on 9/11 from the United States, Canada, and Qatar were obtained and analysed for structure and content. Scores on key cognitive and affective dependent variables were juxtaposed on the timeline of the terrorist attacks. Results show remarkably consistent patterns of integrative complexity and emotional positivity, particularly among North American newscasters, which together provide support for the notion of "disruptive stress." Evidence was also found in support of terror management theory, in that death-related words were strongly positively related to anxiety and anger, this effect being moderated by psychological or ideological distance. Results are interpreted with reference to the cognitive manager model of integrative complexity, uncertainty and terror management. Limitations, implications and future directions are discussed.

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