Stock Photo Psychology: How To Illustrate a Story About Spanking

Every once in a while, a story comes along that offers media outlets a great deal of artistic license when selecting an image to accompany their articles. On Monday, that story was the news of a study published in Pediatrics medical journal, which found a correlation between childhood physical punishment and adult mental disorders.

Below, take a trip into the dark recesses of the psyches of some of the Internet's largest news aggregators as they tackle the question: What is the best way to illustrate a story about spanking?

USA Today, the source often cited by many of the news outlets that later wrote about the study, went with an image of a hand moving so fast it appears to be igniting, in the same way that a VW Bug with flames painted on the sides resting in a mall parking lot appears to be moving so fast it is on fire.

The kinkiest websites opted to use photos depicting adults in the literal act of spanking:

  • The Inquisitr
  • NY Daily News
  • Another popular motif was the top of a child's head, commonly believed to be the saddest spot on the human body:

  • Huffington Post
  • The Globe and Mail
  • Fox News
  • Some news outlets chose adorable photos of children holding hands with their parents — the implication being that these very parents would begin spanking their children into a lifetime of pill addiction as soon as the photographer's lens was lowered:

  • Slate
  • AFP
  • The weirdest decision by far was the use of generic stock photos of extremely rosy-cheeked children:

  • Newser
  • Health Magazine
  • And, finally, the utter cop-out: a photo of anti-depressants:

  • CBS Atlanta
  • [Image via Valeriy Lebedev for Shutterstock]