What is negativity bias?

The wounds in our body take time to heal and when they do, we are the same again. However, there are wounds that never heal and they are the ones produced by words. That proverb that words do not hurt, when we reach adulthood we discover that it is not true. Skin lesions take time to heal, but they do heal, while a comment of negativity can be suffered for life. The negativity bias helps us to understand why negative emotions affect us much more than positive ones.

negativity bias

Why does negativity bias affect us?

Our brain is programmed to remember the negative, putting it before the positive. The negativity bias causes us to exaggerate when we are in danger or give more emphasis to a threat. However, this negativity bias helped many, many people overcome what they thought was insurmountable. Events such as wars, famine, natural disasters or plagues. The human being is prepared to face contingencies and in turn overcome them.

It is part of evolution, our brain, possesses three alerts to face dangerous situations. The basal ganglia, the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex.

The basal ganglia control our response to stalking, helping us to fight or flee. The limbic system manages our emotions and facilitates our understanding of a dangerous situation we have to face. The prefrontal cortex allows us to think logically in response to the threat we are facing.

our brain and negative emotions

The negativity bias according to psychology.

According to Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist at the University of Queensland, ancient humans who had the negativity bias were more prepared to survive. As children, we learn to focus more on the negative than the positive. A child pays more attention to the image of a dangerous animal than to a friendly one.

However, the negativity bias can be detrimental in our daily lives. It may save us in dangerous situations, but these do not occur in day-to-day life. When negative events are more important than positive ones, we live in fear and it can even induce depression.

The negative acquires a disproportionate form in our brain and ends up distorting our vision of the situations we live. An example of this is the news. When we open a newspaper we focus on the most negative ones, and we even comment on them with other people.

According to psychology, negative emotions remain longer in our brain than positive ones. And it is not that they last longer, but that our brain processes them that way. A negative comment about our person, can leave a wound that we will carry for life without closing. The words of the people we love have much more impact than those of other people.

Therefore, the most advisable thing to do is, to focus on the negativity bias and recognize it so that we can benefit from it and that it does not harm us. To annul the negative and accentuate the positive to help us in our daily life.

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