Description

The negativity bias is a well-studied and long-understood concept, which explains that things of generally negative nature have a greater impact on our psychological state than things which are generally positive – even when the negative and positive things are of equal proportions. In other words, our response to negative events is amplified when compared to our response to positive events of the same proportions. This can explain why some people have such trouble escaping depression – our response to negativity is disproportionately large.

Example

For instance, when presented with an opportunity to win $150 or lose $100, with equal probability, studies have found that many people choose not to take this opportunity because the risk of losing $100 is too great – even though, in reality, expected return in this case is positive (the benefit should objectively outweigh the cost).

Further Reading

The Decision Lab

The Decision Lab is a think tank focused on creating positive impact in the public and private sectors by applying behavioral science.

Get In Touch