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Cognitive Biases

9 Examples of Negativity Bias

A negativity bias is a pattern of applying too much attention or weight to negative information. The following are illustrative examples.

Bitter Retrospection

A 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 Scanning

The 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.


Cynicism 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.


Pessimism 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.


Defeatism 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 Bias

Media 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.


The 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 Agency

The 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.


Fragility 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.

Cognitive Biases

This is the complete list of articles we have written about cognitive biases.
Ambiguity Effect
Backfire Effect
Base Rate
Circular Reasoning
Cognitive Bias
Cognitive Dissonance
Complexity Bias
Crab Mentality
Creeping Normality
Curse Of Knowledge
Decoy Effect
Exposure Effect
False Analogy
False Hope
Fear Of Youth
Gambler's Fallacy
Golden Hammer
Halo Effect
Hindsight Bias
Negativity Bias
Optimism Bias
Peak-End Rule
Positive Bias
Sour Grapes
Survivorship Bias
Us vs Them
Victim Mentality
Wishful Thinking
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Cognitive Biases

A list of common cognitive biases explained.

Social Attitudes

An a-z list of social attitudes.

Positive Bias

An overview of positive bias with examples.

Mindset Types

A list of common mindsets.

Defense Mechanisms

A list of the basic defense mechanisms proposed by Freud.

Group Behavior

A list of common group behaviors.

Assumptions Examples

An overview of assumptions with examples.

Sunk Costs Examples

An overview of sunk costs with examples.

Negative Culture

A list of examples of a negative company culture.

Mushroom Management

The definition of mushroom management with examples.

Blame Shifting

The definition of blame shifting with examples.

Seagull Management

The definition of seagull management with examples.

Authoritarian Personality

The definition of authoritarian personality with examples.


A list of common types of boss.

Yes People

An overview of yes person with examples.

Expert Culture

The definition of expert culture with examples.

Loaded Question

An overview of loaded questions, including how to respond to one.
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