You characterize the claim that there is a “universal tendency for negative events and emotions to affect us more powerfully than positive events and emotions” with the phrase “bad is stronger than good.” You mention that getting criticism can be unpleasant, but that it doesn’t have to be, and that even when it is, it can have a variety of positive outcomes.

What Criteria Do We Use To Determine Whether Something Is ‘Bad,’ ‘Good,’ ‘Neutral,’ Or ‘Multifaceted?’

This is a profound and surprisingly challenging question. It’s impossible to communicate exclusively in terms that have been specified. Because good and evil are fundamental notions in language, defining them in terms of even more fundamental concepts is difficult.

The concepts of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are among the first youngsters learn (even dogs!). Furthermore, psychologists claim that the brain identifies anything as good or terrible in less than half a second after determining it. Sure, there are complicated occurrences that combine good and negative, and other things may be neutral.

On the other hand, everyone receives a distinct emotional/affective signal regarding whether something is good or terrible for the most part. Many things are likely linked to survival. Things that help sustain life in these ways are seen as good, whereas those that harm survival and reproduction are regarded as immoral.

How Can We Be Sure This Isn’t Evidence Of A Negative Bias?

The fact that “fights” are significantly more damaging to romantic relationships than “intimacy” is beneficial. Yes, the assumption that bad is worse than good is based on the idea that their objective magnitudes are similar. The majority of people believe that no good deeds will ever be enough to make up for murder.

Much of the laboratory research, thankfully, was successful in equating good and evil. For example, in loss aversion trials, the same amount of money is obtained or lost (and people react more strongly to the loss than the gain). In research on learning, students were given a marble for each correct answer or marble for each incorrect answer, with the overall number of problems and marbles remaining constant.

Impression formation researchers have also measured each trait’s evaluative power, allowing them to devise a mathematical formula for combining the various characteristics to form an average impression. It is only to discover that the most negative trait has a disproportionate impact on the final image. In short, research that thoroughly and accurately equated the quantities of good and harmful provide a wealth of evidence. Moreover, they give the most convincing evidence for bad’s greater power.

So, How Does The Negativity Bias Fit Under The Category Of “Universal Tendency”?

That’s perfectly OK. In psychology, we believe that a “generic rule” assumes that all other factors are equal, and the negative bias appears to be universal in this regard. Indeed, we looked for actual exceptions in the scientific literature because they would have helped flesh out the theory and make it more interesting/complex.

However, when all other conditions are equal, we could not find any actual exceptions in which good exceeds bad. Similarly, we’ve heard several scholars claim they’d want to see an exception since the review was published in 2001, but these never seem to materialize.

Some of your counterexamples demonstrate that some people are more sensitive to negativity than others. This is to be expected – after all, people are different – and it hardly qualifies as an outlier. However, your other points suggest that you can overcome your negative bias. So it’s still there, but we can handle it.

Of course, we deal with negative things by attempting to minimize or forget them, but we have no similar desire to minimize or forget beautiful things. That is not the same as the power of bad. Many people live happy, successful lives despite their minds evolving to overreact to bad things, apparently for a good reason. The ability to be wrong is a tool and a challenge, not a death sentence.

Instead Of Analyzing It Objectively And Equitably, Should People Dismiss Or Downplay Bad?

Isn’t it better to aim for realism rather than optimism or pessimism? Yes, we are supporters of reality. However, when it comes to learning, for example, it is undeniable that receiving both positive and negative feedback is the most beneficial because it provides you with the most knowledge.

Learners learn more quickly when they understand what they are doing correctly and what they are doing incorrectly. True, if only one type of feedback is available, it appears that punishment and criticism are more effective than praise and reward in teaching.

We’ve long assumed that pain was the earliest “conscious” sensation in evolution because it alerts the brain that the body is being harmed – and preventing such damage is essential for survival. We could try to offer you a sophisticated philosophical response once more, but it may be beside the point. In practice, individuals determine if something is excellent or awful quickly and automatically.


Getting both, though, is the most effective strategy. Finally, we have long believed that one of the ultimate multidisciplinary social scientific difficulties is the problem of cultural transformation, and we aim to produce a book on the subject if we live long enough and collect enough knowledge to formulate anything original.

In the meantime, we’re pondering the issue of political bias and antagonism, seeking to come up with a comprehensive understanding of what the left and right have to offer and why they so utterly fail to respect each other. Finally, we’ve been studying the psychology of time for a few years, trying to figure out how the mind generates the future and uses those beliefs to drive behavior in the present. Find out more in a uniquely interactive literary piece written by Sharmini Cohen – Raye Royale, a fantastic tale about the twelve floras, each characterizing certain goods and particular bad which all humans exhibit! Go ahead and download it today!

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