One of the challenging aspects of being a member of the current modern society is the amount of focus is put on negative events, people, etc. The heavy emphasis on these negative factors combined with our innate negativity bias can lead to further cognitive distortion or catastrophizing. Cognitive distortion can be described as an unconscious reoccurring pattern and frequent inaccurate thoughts and is often connected to our negativity bias. Besides, the negativity bias often leads our minds to give more psychological significance to undesirable experiences. As a result of the negativity bias, individuals often end up becoming more aware of negative stimuli and events. Additionally, the individual might become trapped in rumination of the previous events, which will only perpetuate the same patterns.
The negativity bias is also innate and a part of human evolution, which often was based on survival. Furthermore, the tendency to focus on survival also led to putting more emphasis on negative and dangerous situations and often could be determining factors to survival. Additionally, individuals that were more attuned or aware of threats often improved their ability to survive. Consequently, these negative habitual patterns of thought were often inherited through genes to survive and become more attentive to threats and dangers. Lastly, an evolutionary perspective helps to comprehend our innate pattern to ruminate on negative occurrences rather than beneficial ones, which is often a safety mechanism and defence to keep us safe.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the negativity bias is innate and often even emerges in the early stages of life. Specifically, the negativity bias emerges during infancy and further develops throughout an individual’s life. For example, the infants often display their negativity bias during their social evaluation of individuals that are dissimilar to them or even unknowns, which is often observable in three early months of their lives.
However, in the current society, constant worry or high alertness is often unnecessary and often related to our ancestors’ survival, which depends on predicting dangers and threats. Besides, research has shown that our negativity bias can often influence our thought patterns, responses, and feelings. As a result of the influence, an individual might experience the negative bias being evident in one’s relationships, choices, and the perception of other individuals. Disclaimer, the negativity bias often significantly impacts our relationships, especially our intimate relationships. The main factor in becoming aware is the anticipation of something negative from our partner, which leads to establishing defences before an argument or interaction.
Habits to Incorporate to Combat the Negativity Bias