What Is the Negativity Bias? - Deepstash

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<p>The negativity bias is our ...

The negativity bias is our tendency not only to register negative stimuli more readily but also to dwell on these events. Also known as positive-negative asymmetry, this negativity bias means that we feel the sting of a rebuke more powerfully than we feel the joy of praise.

This psychological phenomenon explains why bad first impressions can be so difficult to overcome and why past traumas can have such long lingering effects. In almost any interaction, we are more likely to notice negative things and later remember them more vividly.

As humans, we tend to:

  • Remember traumatic experiences better than positive ones.
  • Recall insults better than praise.
  • React more strongly to negative stimuli.
  • Think about negative things more frequently than positive ones.
  • Respond more strongly to negative events than to equally positive ones.

For example, you might be having a great day at work when a coworker makes an offhand comment that you find irritating. You then find yourself stewing over his words for the rest of the workday.

When you get home from work and someone asks you how your day was, you reply that it was terrible—even though it was overall quite good despite that one negative incident.

This bias toward the negative leads you to pay much more attention to the bad things that happen, making them seem much more important than they really are.

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As humans, we tend to:

  • Remember traumatic experiences better than positive ones.
  • Recall insults better than praise.
  • React more strongly to negative stimuli.
  • Think about negative things more frequently than positive ones.
  • Respond more strongly to negative events than to equally positive ones.

For example, you might be having a great day at work when a coworker makes an offhand comment that you find irritating. You then find yourself stewing over his words for the rest of the workday.

When you get home from work and someone asks you how your day was, you reply that it was terrible.

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333 reads

As humans, we tend to:

  • Remember traumatic experiences better than positive ones.
  • Recall insults better than praise.
  • React more strongly to negative stimuli.
  • Think about negative things more frequently than positive ones.
  • Respond more strongly to negative events than to equally positive ones.

For example, you might be having a great day at work when a coworker makes an offhand comment that you find irritating. You then find yourself stewing over his words for the rest of the workday.

When you get home from work and someone asks you how your day was, you reply that it was terrible—even though it was overall quite good despite that one negative incident.

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This bias toward the negative leads you to pay much more attention to the bad things that happen, making them seem much more important than they really are.

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What the Research Says

We tend to...

  • Pay more attention to negative events than positive ones.
  • Learn more from negative outcomes and experiences.
  • Make decisions based on negative information more than positive data.1 

It is the “bad things” that grab our attention, stick to our memories , and, in many cases, influence the decisions that we make.

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Motivation

Psychological research suggests that the negative bias influences motivation to complete a task. People have less motivation when an incentive is framed as a means to gain something than when the same incentive will help them avoid the loss of something.2 

This can play a role in your motivation to pursue a goal. Rather than focusing on what you will gain if you keep working toward something, you're more likely to dwell on what you might have to give up in order to achieve that goal.1 

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Bad News

Additionally, studies have shown that negative news is more likely to be perceived as truthful. Since negative information draws greater attention, it also may be seen as having greater validity. This might be why bad news seems to garner more attention.3

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Politics

Differences in negativity bias have also been linked to political ideology. Some research suggests that conservatives may have stronger psychological responses to negative information than liberals. Some evidence, for example, has found that people who consider themselves politically conservative are more likely to rate ambiguous stimuli as threatening.4 

Such differences in the negativity bias might explain why some people are more likely to value things such as tradition and security while others are more open to embracing ambiguity and change.

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Examples of Negative Bias

The negative bias can have a variety of real-world effects on how people think and act. Do any of these situations and events seem familiar?

  • You received a performance review at work that was quite positive overall and noted your strong performance and achievements. A few constructive comments pointed out areas where you could improve, and you find yourself fixating on those remarks. Rather than feeling good about the positive aspects of your review, you feel upset and angry about the few critical comments.

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Where Negative Bias Comes From

Our tendency to pay more attention to bad things and overlook good things is likely a result of evolution. Earlier in human history, paying attention to bad, dangerous, and negative threats in the world was literally a matter of life and death. Those who were more attuned to danger and who paid more attention to the bad things around them were more likely to survive.

This meant they were also more likely to hand down the genes that made them more attentive to danger.1

The evolutionary perspective suggests that this tendency to dwell on the negative more than the positive is simply one way.

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Development

Research suggests that this negativity bias starts to emerge in infancy. Very young infants tend to pay greater attention to positive facial expression and tone of voice, but this begins to shift as they near one year of age.5

Brain studies indicate that around this time, babies begin to experience greater brain responses to negative stimuli. This suggests that the brain's negative bias emerges during the latter half of a child’s first year of life. There is some evidence that the bias may actually start even earlier in development.

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CURATED BY

ashwin_ippili

I like music and chocolates......

This is about Negativity....my new article....😀

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