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Positivity effect

In psychology and cognitive science, the positivity effect is the tendency of people, when evaluating the causes of the behaviors of a person they like, to attribute positive behaviors to the person's inherent disposition and negative behaviors to situations surrounding the behaviors. The positivity effect is the inverse of the negativity effect, which is found when people evaluate the causes of the behaviors of a person they dislike. Both effects are attributional biases.

The term positivity effect also refers to age differences in emotional attention and memory. Studies have found that older adults are more likely than younger adults to pay attention to positive than negative stimuli (as assessed by the dot-probe paradigm and eye-tracking methods). In addition, compared with younger adults' memories, older adults' memories are more likely to consist of positive than negative information and more likely to be distorted in a positive direction. This version of the positivity effect was coined by Laura L. Carstensen's research team.[1]

See also

  • list of cognitive biases
  • list of memory biases


  1. ^ The Influence of a Sense of Time on Human Development. Science, June 30, 2006.
  • Taylor, S. E. & Koivumaki, J. H. (1976). The perception of self and others: Acquaintanceship, affect and actor-observer differences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 33, 403-408.
  • Mather, M., & Carstensen, L. L. (2005). Aging and motivated cognition: The positivity effect in attention and memory. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9, 496-502. PDF
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Positivity_effect". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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