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As humans, what are we most likely to be during difficult times? Positive or Negative? Evolutionary Psychology studies show that humans are hardwired to be more vigilant towards Negative Emotions.

The capacity to emphasize the negative rather than the positive has probably been an evolutionary phenomenon. From our earliest beginnings, being aware of and avoiding danger has been a critical survival skill. Therefore we tend to avoid negative emotions and stimuli as much as possible.

Negative Emotions


Negativity Bias

Negativity bias advances the idea that people are more likely to choose things based on their need to avoid negative experiences, rather than their desire to get positive experiences. This phenomenon has been examined by researchers such as Roy F. Baumister etc. These psychologists concluded negative experiences or the fear of them has a greater impact on people than positive experiences.

In our brains, there are two different systems for negative and positive stimuli. The brain perceives and transfers negative emotions more efficiently and faster than positive emotions. So that it can come up with a mechanism to avoid the emotions. Positive experiences have to be held in our awareness for more than 12 seconds in order for the transfer from short-term to long-term memory.  Rick Hanson describes it in this way: “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.”

Click here to discuss your Negative Emotions such as Fear, Anger, Hurt, Depression, etc.