9 Examples of Negativity Bias
John Spacey, December 20, 2021
A negativity bias is a pattern of applying too much attention or weight to negative information. The following are illustrative examples.
Bitter RetrospectionA tendency to remember insults and injustices over compliments and kindnesses. For example, an individual who broods over past insults they received as a student who forgets the many compliments and kindnesses they also received.
Information ScanningThe process of cherry picking negative information. This can be a passive habit or a process of motivated reasoning. For example, an individual who is afraid to fly who is often discovering negative information about flying and travel in order to justify avoidance of flying.
CynicismCynicism is an ideology or character trait that seeks out negative information without balancing this view with positive information. For example, postmodern critical theory is largely based on the assumption that dominant societies, systems, cultures and institutions are tools of oppression.
PessimismPessimism is future-facing cynicism whereby risk is overestimated and opportunity underestimated. For example, a parent who assumes their child's business plans are doomed to fail without seeing the small chance of success in their plans or the possibilities that failure may bring.
DefeatismDefeatism is cynicism or pessimism that interferes with one's duty or performance. For example, a hockey player who gives up and displays little or no effort whenever their team is behind by a goal or two.
Media BiasMedia bias is a broad range of biases that influence the selection of stories for broadcast and social media. Negativity bias is one such bias that causes a media outlet to select negative stories such as crime over positive stories such as improvements to society. This may occur because positive stories are typically less dramatic.
DeclinismThe belief that everything is always getting worse. For example, people in a society may believe that crime is getting worse when it has in fact declined.
Low AgencyThe belief that you or others have little ability to direct their own life and produce their own successes. For example, a paternalistic city government that views residents of a city as incapable of making basic decisions or completing basic tasks without the assistance, direction or control of government.
FragilityFragility is the practice of overestimating challenges, risk and the impact of failures, insult and injury. For example, a parent who tries to control the way that their children play to prevent them from taking any risk or facing any social difficulties. This may underestimate the capacity of children to freely play and interact in a way that builds strengths and resilience.
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