kitchen table math, the sequel: Bad Is Stronger Than Good

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bad Is Stronger Than Good

The greater power of bad events over good ones is found in everyday events, major life events (e.g., trauma), close relationship outcomes, social network patterns, interpersonal interactions, and learning processes. Bad emotions, bad parents, and bad feedback have more impact than good ones, and bad information is processed more thoroughly than good. The self is more motivated to avoid bad self-definitions than to pursue good ones. Bad impressions and bad stereotypes are quicker to form and more resistant to disconfirmation than good ones. Various explanations such as diagnosticity and salience help explain some findings, but the greater power of bad events is still found when such variables are controlled. Hardly any exceptions (indicating greater power of good) can be found. Taken together, these findings suggest that bad is stronger than good, as a general principle across a broad range of psychological phenomena.

Bad Is Stronger Than Good Roy F. Baumeister and Ellen Bratslavsky, Catrin Finknauer, Kathleen D. Vohs. Review of General Psychology 2001, Vol. 5 No 4, 323-70.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that only one book has been written on the subject of positive reinforcement.


RMD said...

I love "Don't Shoot . . " However, it isn't the only book . . .

There is also "The Power of Positive Parenting: A Wonderful Way to Raise Children"

I consider it a "bible" of child raising, and it is all about positive reinforcement and using behavioral science.

Catherine Johnson said...

oh thank you for that title!

You know -- I'm pretty sure I had looked up that book once & then forgot it.

Will check it out.


Catherine Johnson said...

I've got to write some posts about positive reinforcement events with Andrew & Abby (hyper Lab). It's amazing.

Catherine Johnson said...

yup - that's the one

I'd seen it before, contemplated buying it, then lost track of it. I'm getting it this time.

Catherine Johnson said...

Mary Damer & Elaine McEwan's book on behavior problems in students has lots of wonderful material on positive reinforcement.

Tracy W said...

One of my favourite authors (a group which of course includes Catherine Johnson) is Kate Fox, an English anthropologist, who started a company to do "postive anthropological research" after spending years of studying violence in pubs and noticing that non-violent pubs far outnumbered violent pubs.

She's written "Watching the English" and "Racing Tribe", plus a number of books about pubs.