Do you have a negative bias?

I have forever been a pessimist. I am always suspicious and have a tendency to find a fault in everything. Only when the matter at hand passes my own defined litmus test for taking it positively, do I then plunge into it headlong. I secretly thought that I needed therapy for being so downbeat about life.

But here’s something interesting that lifted the burden off my heart. Our brains have a negative bias. Research says that humans are more sensitive to bad news than good news. Our brains react strongly to negative stimuli than positive. Negative bias is a tendency to look at the more negative side of some event, person, object, or situation. It gives a negative interpretation or a negative point of view for looking at a situation. Research says that humans are more sensitive to bad news than good news. Our brains react strongly to negative stimuli than positive. How true is that!

How many incidences do you remember from the past that left you feeling, embarrassed, guilty, angry and vengeful? We take less effort to create positive outcomes. Take work for example. If you perform well in two projects out of three, your mind will focus on the failed project rather than rejoicing on the first two. I agree introspection is required but not to the point of becoming a cynic.

School reports? Always dreadful: Try recalling the times when you rejoiced on scoring well against the times you were scolded for poor results. Which memory comes first to you?

Appreciation for work? Hardly: Your work is appreciated in a single line and your bosses are more likely to criticize you by pointing out the things that you did wrong. What encouragement would you have left? It kills any gusto you may have to work hard.

Negative thoughts reinforce the negative mental state. It forms a chain that makes you think in a negative manner only. Disqualifying the positive is listed as one of the cognitive distortions where in you tend to gloss over positive events and hold a magnifying glass to the negative. It only leads to more stress and more importantly guilt.

Well, blame our history and evolution to develop such a bias. Survival depended on dodging danger. Our brains built in such a mechanism that we developed a keen instinct to spot danger and strive to escape it. The humankind existed and even progressed on this intellectual gear.

We see a negative bias in everyday life; work, family, relatives, friends, relationships. The trick is not let our minds tilt on the negative side of things too much. Try to keep things in perspective folks!


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