We Are All Negatively Biased

Why can’t we pull our attention away from a traffic accident or stop watching the news about the latest bad things that are going on in our world? Why are we waylaid by criticism or unable to get past a minor snub from our best friends?

That’s our negativity bias. We humans have a tendency to give more weight in our minds to things that go wrong than to things that go right -so much so that one negative event can hijack our minds in ways that an be detrimental to our work, relationships, health, and happiness.

It’s something that the News and Hollywood thrives on these days. That’s how they make money and control us.

Have you ever found yourself dwelling on an insult or fixating on your mistakes? Criticisms often have a greater impact that compliments, and bad news frequently draws more that good.

This negative bias is our tendency not only to register negative stimuli more readily but also to dwell on bad events. We feel the sting of a rebuke more powerfully that we feel the joy of praise.

As humans we tend to:

  • Remember traumatic experiences better that 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.

That’s why the world is in such disarray these days. With all the negative things going on people are effected to the point that the feeling of negativity are just spewing out of us.

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

People tend to focus more on the negative as they try to make sense of the world. News and Hollywood are full of negativity these days,which our negativity bias and negative information all around us it will lead to disaster.

We tend to:

Pay more attention to negative events than possible ones. (We have to work more to find the positive in any situation).

We learn more from negative outcomes and experiences.

We make decisions based on negative information more than positive data.

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

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 that when the same incentive will help them avoid the loss of something.

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

Bad News

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

Politics

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

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.

Let’s look at when Donald Trump was president. Gas prices were low, the economy was great, the stock market was booming, but there was negativity being put out about him constantly. Many people focused on the negativity about him, than what good was going on around us. Yes, he hurt people’s feelings when he spoke, but change for America was what we needed.

Everyone seemed to focus on the negativity around him, some even hated him.

Today, we have $5 plus dollars a gallon in gas, the economy is horrible. And the shelves at the grocery stores are empty, we constantly have shortage of something. Some are thriving on this negativity.

The brain’s response

There is Scientific evidence that shows a greater neural processing in the the brain in response to negative stimuli. Studies have shown participants were shown pictures of either positive, negative or neural images. Then researchers observed electrical activity in the brain. Negative images produced a much stronger response in the cerebral cortex than the positive or neural images.

Because negative information causes a surge of activity in a critical information processing area of the brain, our behaviors and attitudes tend to be shaped more powerfully by bad news,experiences, and information.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.