Incongruity in news headings. Readers’ choices and resulting cognitions

L. Lagerwerf, C. Timmerman, A. Bosschaert

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In the rapidly changing news market, quality newspapers are searching for ways to combine established journalistic practices with attractive presentation of their newsprint. On internet news sites, attention-getting headlines are even more important in obtaining readership. This paper investigates the role of incongruity in selection of headings, and recall, recognition, and appreciation of selected news items. In Experiment 1, headlines were written on three incongruity levels: straightforward, ambiguous (trope), or stylistically deviant (scheme). In Experiment 2, news headlines were accompanied by either consistent or inconsistent photographs. Results of both experiments showed that heading incongruity enhanced information processing of news items.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-804
JournalJournalism Practice
Issue number6
Early online date17 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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