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Positive-negative asymmetry

VIEWS: 25 PAGES: 55

									 Positive-negative asymmetry in
evaluation, cognition and behavior

             Lecture 4
              The best life possible




My life now

 My life 5
 years ago
              The worst life possible
 My life in
 10 years
Positive-negative asymmetry - definition

• PNA: Any asymmetry in cognitive
  representation of, or reaction to, positive
  as compared to negative stimuli which
  is not due to trivial differences in
  valence or intensity of these stimuli.
                BIAS vs. EFFECT

• BIAS
  –   Hypothesis a priori (assumption)
  –   Stimulus-independent
  –   „default option” of the „brain software”
  –   Subject-produced
• EFFECT
  – Reaction to the stimulus or information (a posteriori)
  – Triggered by the object
              Bias in evaluations

• Positive (positivity bias)
   – Positive assumptions on world and life
• Negative (negativity bias)
   – Negative assumptions on world and life
                    Negative figures
    +       -
    -   +       -   Positive background
        +
+
    + -         +      POSITIVITY BIAS




                     Positive figures
        + -
-
                +    Negative background
    + -
                -
    -     +            NEGATIVITY BIAS
                                        After: Peeters, 1971
          Effects in evaluations

• Positive (positivity effect)
  – Stronger reaction to positive than negative
    stimuli/information
• Negative (negativity effect)
  – Stronger reaction to negative than to positive
    stimuli/information
             BIAS                EFFECT




Positivity      Negativity   Positivity   Negativity
  bias            bias        effect        effect


    •Positive expectations
    •Negative reactions
                 Positivity bias

• Positive evaluation of life („illusion of progress”,
  „pathetic illusion”)
• Positive self-evaluation (positive self-esteem,
  egotism)
• Illusion of control/egocentric-unrealistic optimism
• Positive evaluation of others (halo effect, leniency
  effect)
          Positive evaluation of life

• Cantril’s ladder
• Illusion of progress
• Pathetic illusion
                        „Paradise lost” phenomenon in Poland

                   70
percent subjects

                   60                                   better before
                   50                                   1989
                   40                                   the same
                   30
                   20                                   better now
                   10
                    0
                                          s

                                       ng
                              fin th

                                          s
                                        ily
                                        rk




                                      ip
                                     ce
                                     al
                                     m
                                   wo




                                     ei
                                   sh
                                  he

                                  an
                                  fa




                                 l-b
                     ne end

                              el

                                                    Study (2003):
                         lw
                          fri
                       ra




                                                    representative sample
                   ge




                                                    1328 Ss
In days of the woolf it
   was much better!
                              Evaluation of life now


                   90
                   80
percent subjects



                                                 very bad, bad or
                   70
                   60                            rather bad
                   50                            neither good nor
                   40                            bad
                   30
                   20                            very good, good
                   10                            or rather good
                    0
                            fin th




                                   ng
                                    rk

                                    ily



                             nd s
                                      s
                   ge frie ce

                         l w ship
                                  al
                                 wo

                                  m




                                 ei
                               he

                               an
                               fa




                              l-b
                            el




                                          Study (2003): representative
                       ra
                     ne




                                          sample 1328 Ss
Når du sammenligner deg med en gjennomsnittlig
medlem av din gruppe (samme alder, kjønn og
utdannelse) vurderer du dine sjanser til at noen av
disse tingene hender deg som:
7 - langt større sjanse
6 - større sjanse
5 - litt større sjanse
4 - samme sjanse
3 - litt mindre sjanse
2 - mindre sjanse
1 - langt mindre sjanse
1. å få tilfredstillende jobb
2. å eie eget hus
3. å ha alkoholproblem
4. å reise til Amerika
5. forsøke selvmord
6. å bli oppsagt på jobben
7. å få begynnerlønn over 220 000 NOK
8. å få lungekreft
9. å få et særlig begavet barn
10. å få hjerteanfall
11. å bli over 80 år
12. å få tidlig skilsmisse
             Unrealistic optimism
              (Neil Weinstein)
•   Overstimating own chances for positive events
•   Underestimating own chances for negative events
•   Effect stronger for negative than positive
•   Explanations –
    – Motivational - egotistic
    – Cognitive (Y. Klar) – any object which focueses
      attention has more of a compared quality than
      unspecified „average” object
Unrealistic optimism
Neil Weinstein


Unrealistic optimism
stronger for negative
than positive events
   The golden section in evaluation of
           people and events
• „Golden section” (sectio aurea) in
  architecture, sculpture, painting, harmony in
  music
• „Divine proportion” (divina proportione)
• Golden section: (a+b)/a=a/b
                           X
            0,62                 0,38
    Golden section as principle of beauty

•   Architecture
•   Urbanism
•   Paintings
•   Nature
•   Photography
Golden section and photography
Golden section and architecture: The
         Greek Parthenon
Egyptian pyramids
Golden section and paintings: Leonardo
          da Vinci paintings
Golden section in nature
Plan voisin of Le Corbusier for one of
         the districts of Paris
    Golden section in social cognition

• J. Benjafield & J. Adams-Webber:
  positivity bias is a manifestation of of the
  golden section
  – 62% - positive evaluations
  – 38% - negative evaluations
• J. Adams-Webber: 38% - maximum
  information
        Positivity bias in language

• Positive words score higher in frequency of
  use (Zajonc: more frequent words  more
  liked)
• Positive and negative words differ in
  markedness
            Linguistic markedness

• Unmarked categories
  – more primitive (primary)
  – More vague
  – Name stands for the whole dimension
• Marked categories
  – secondary
  – More precise and narrow
  – Name stands for part of the dimension
             Examples

Non-marked          Marked

  High              Low
  Thick             Thin
  Big               Small
  Dog               Bitch
  Man               Woman
Linguistic markedness – how to diagnose
                  it?
• Type of questions
   – How long is it? Is it long? NOT: How short is it? Is it
     short?
   – How big is it? Is it big? NOT: How small is it? Is it
     small?
   – How good is it? NOT: How bad is it?
• Comparing negations: negation of unmarked
  member closer to the marked member than reverse
   – Not-good = bad
   – Not-bad =/= good
     Positivity-negativity and linguistic
                 markedness
• Positive words - linguistically primitive (nonmarked)
• Negative words – linguistically secondary (marked)
• Open markedness
    – Intelligent – (Un)intelligent
    – Responsible – (Ir)responsible
    – Exceptions: Selfish – (Un)selfsh
•   Implicit markedness:
    – Good - bad
           Positivity bias observed

• Unknown stimuli and situations
• Ficticious task situations (.e.g, ficticious bets)
• Longer time perspective (distant future seems
  more positive than close future)
• Longer distances (.e.g., Miller’s gradients, „grass
  is always greener on the othe other side of the
  fence”)
Approach gradient usually flatter than
avoidance gradient (after: Neil Miller)

strong                       Avoidance gradient
 motivation




                                             Approach gradient


                 Food
                 +el.shock
weak
              close           vacilliation               far
             Negativity effect
• The chain principle – strength of the whole chain
  depends on its weakest link, not on the strongest
• Negative stimuli and events more important for
  survival than positive stimuli
             Negativity effect

• (Czapiński & Peeters, 1990): Two types of
  negativity effect: affective and
  informational
  – Affective negativity effect: higher impact of
    negative than positive evaluations on judgments
    and behavior
  – Informational negativity effect: Higher
    informational value of negative than positive
    evaluations
        Affective negativity effect (1)

• Negativity effects in impression formation
   – Single negative trait may outweigh several positive
     traits
   – It is easier to lose a good reputation than to gain it back
• Negativity effects in attribution
   – Negative (immoral) behavior leads to more
     dispositional attributions than positive (moral) behavior
     (Jones & Davis, Reeder)
                     Diagnostic behaviors
                                    Intelligent
Intelligent
                 +              +   behavior


 Unintelligent                      Stupid
                 -              -   behavior

                                                  Diagnostic
  Honest                            Honest        behaviors
                 +              +   behavior


                                    Dishonest
Dishonest        -              -   behavior
       Affective negativity effect (2)

• Negativity effects in decision making
   – Utility curve steeper for losses than gains
   – Negative decisions taken before positive decisions
Utility curve
    Decision making: negative decisions
         precede positive decisions

                                             Screening stage:
P          A   B   C       D   E   F   G     eliminating negative
R
                                             options
E
F
E              B       D       E   F
                                           Picking up the promising
R
                                           (potentially positive)
E
N
C
               B       D       E   F
E                                            Turning the
S                                            promising into
                           E                 positive
Positivity bias and negativity
effects on psychological maps
Like- dislike           want- do not want to live




                Residents of Western and
                Northern Lands
Like - dislike              want- do not want to live




      Residents of the Eastern Wall
Like - dislike          Want - do not want to live




                 Residents of Galicia
     Informational negativity effect

• Higher informational value of negative than
  positive evaluations
   Negative draws more attention than
                positive
• Journalists focus more on negative news
• Scientists interested more in negative than
  in positive issues (e.g., more theories about
  negative than positive emotions)
- Som en henrettelse
 Negative judgments more sophisticated

• More differentiated language describing negative
  phenomena. More negative words in dictionaries
   – Names for negative emotions>names for positive emotions
• Negative judgments more elaborated and better justified
  than positive judgments
   – E.g. Decisions to reject vs. accept a paper or a candidate
• More attributional activity invested in explaining negative
  than positive behaviors and outcomes
   – Better knowledge on causes of negative than of positive
More interpersonal agreement on what is
         negative than positive
• Negative words less ambiguous
• Negative labels more diagnostic than
  positive labels
• Negative – more „objective” status than
  positive
  Affective vs. informational negativity
                   effect
• Affective
  – strong stimuli
  – distance impossible
• Informational
  – weak stimuli
  – distance possible
  How to combine positivity bias with
          negativity effects?
• Opposite phenomena?
• Complementary phenomena?
                    Negative figures
    +       -
    -   +       -   Positive background
        +
+
    + -         +      POSITIVITY BIAS




                     Positive figures
        + -
-
                +    Negative background
    + -
                -
    -     +            NEGATIVITY BIAS
                                        After: Peeters, 1971

								
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