A mind is prone to overreact to negative things relative to positive things; so people can use this to manipulate us, or we can use this to manipulate other people. If we understand this, we can prevent some of the negative effects and improve the quality of our social life.
Interview with the author of The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and We Can Rule It.
Our brain’s negativity bias kept us alive when we lived in the past – confronted by wild animals, extreme weather events, calamities. Today we are mostly confront web news messaging that is always set to miserable. Even though we live in the best of times in all of human history. See Factfulness.
Yet we are inundated with politicians saying its the worst of times, activists saying humanity will be extinct in ten years, and news media promoting stories that can be spun into scary tales of prophetic doom.
Author John Tierney:
“So many things are going right in the world, and yet journalists can take what’s basically a good news trend and find one person doing badly and focus on that. The reason for this is probably that mass media aims at a mass audience, and the things that affect everyone tend to be negative—we’re all afraid of dying; we’re all afraid of being hurt. Focusing on those shared concerns is the easiest way to reach a mass audience.”
In reality, for our mental health, we need to stir away from an unnecessary focus on negativity.
I’m buying the book.