Academic articles with clickbait titles get more attention and shares online

Plazma Inferno!

Ding Ding Ding Ding
What makes online content go viral appears to hold for academia as well, or at least for articles in Frontiers in Psychology.
According to a recent study, the positive framing of an article's findings in the title and phrasing the title in an arousing way increases how much online attention an article gets, independently of non-clickbait measures like how interesting the topic is or the length of the title.
Over 2000 article titles published in a scientific journal called Frontiers in Psychology in 2013 and 2014 were coded for positive framing (e.g. using "smoking causes cancer", rather than "the link between smoking and cancer") and phrasing arousal (e.g. referring to "gambling" rather than "mathematical decision making").
It turned out that articles with positive framing and phrasing arousal in their titles received higher Altmetric scores, meaning that they were shared more widely online. In contrast, having wordplay in the titles actually lead to lower Altmetric Attention Scores, while having a question in the title made no difference. This is independent of the length of the title or how interesting the topic was.
This suggests that academic media is treated similarly to non-academic media by the public in terms of what initially attracts people's attention.

Full paper: