Negativity bias

Our brain reacts more strongly to bad news versus a comparable good one. The pain of a $1000 loss is more than the pleasure of making a $1000 profit. A bad review on your speech delivers far greater impact compared to many good reviews.

I found that this behavior has a name, “negativity bias”. This research concludes that the same bad-news bias is at work in every sphere of our lives at all times. For example, it says that as long as there was five times as much positive feeling and interaction between husband and wife as there was negative, the marriage was likely to be stable over time.

Similarly, in other spheres of our life, it is the frequency of small positive acts that matters most, in a ratio of about five to one. Occasional big positive experiences such as a birthday bash are nice but they don’t make the necessary impact on our brain to override the tilt to negativity. It takes frequent small positive experiences to tip the scales toward happiness.


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