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Positive–Negative Asymmetry

Definition

The positive–negative asymmetry refers to two complementary tendencies regarding how people respond to positive and negative events or information. On one hand, there is a tendency for bad events (such as failing a class, being criticized, or experiencing the loss of a close friend) to have more impact on a person than good events (winning a prize, receiving a compliment, or making a new friend). The greater strength of negative information is most obvious in the area of impression formation, where it is called the negativity effect. Accordingly, when people form an impression of another person, they put greater weight on the person's bad behaviors (such as hitting a child for no reason) than on the person's good behavior (such as rescuing a family from ...

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