Breaking Good and Bad News: Direction of the MUM Effect and Senders' Cognitive Representations of News Valence

Academic Article


  • The MUM effect refers to the robust research finding that people are more hesitant to share bad news relative to good news. An experiment utilized a false feedback test design to determine whether the MUM effect stems from a reluctance to share bad news, an eagerness to share good news, or both. Participants (N = 114) shared good, neutral, or bad news (i.e., high, medium, or low test scores) to a stranger. News valence, delay before response, and reluctance were measured. Delay before response and reluctance were linearly related to test score suggesting both eagerness to share good news and reluctance to share bad news. Practical and theoretical implications are discussed. © The Author(s) 2010.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Dibble JL; Levine TR
  • Start Page

  • 703
  • End Page

  • 722
  • Volume

  • 37
  • Issue

  • 5