Why negative occurrences tend to have a greater impact on our psychological state than positive ones


Negativity Bias

, explained.

What is the Negativity Bias?

Negativity Bias 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. The negativity bias is a well-studied and long-understood concept.


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).