By | Adil Malia | www.adilmalia.com
‘Negativity Bias’ is our tendency not only to register negative stimuli faster and more willingly but also to focus and dwell on negative incidents & events, more. Known in psychology as ‘positive-negative asymmetry’, negativity bias means that in reciprocation, we tend to feel the sting of a rebuke more powerfully than we feel the joy of praise. Haven’t we all experienced it ??? Negativity comes naturally … positivity has to be consciously pushed and taken a note of.
Neuroscientific evidence has shown that exposed to a mixed bag of stimuli, the brain’s neural processing is much faster & elicits a much greater in response to negative stimuli than to positive stimuli. Negative emotions generally involve more thinking and the information is processed by the brain more thoroughly than positive ones. Bad news, horrible feedback and negative impressions are deep-rooted. An Insult is recalled much longer. They all stick hard and are not so easy to shake-off. Positive information on the other hand, easily falls off by the way-side and dies an unacknowledged death.
From an evolutionary standpoint, our survival depended on negativity bias. Safety, security and survival being critical to human existence – ‘Negativity Alertness’ developed over a period of time as a way for our ancestors to be cautious of all environmental dangers around us. Being constantly so alert to threats and such worst case scenarios is what helped our ascendants to survive through dangers. Through evolution thus negativity bias has become natural and so automatic that it can be detected at the earliest stage of the brain’s information processing. Negative experiences leave a deeper and faster imprint on our memories than positive experiences.
When a Corporate Leader therefore perceives a threat from a colleague or a smart subordinate, his antenna detects real or otherwise career threat signals faster and there he goes … “you are always arguing and fighting unnecessarily and too much”