Yes, negativity bias is a thing, and it’s in full force every time Apple introduces a new product. Of course, such nattering nabobs of negativism are not exclusive to Apple. We see it on cable TV every day.
The gist of negativity bias is straightforward enough and helps to explain why we see so much, well, negativity around us. Humans are wired to think that something critical, or more negative in nature, has greater impact on us than positive things. Ipso facto, Apple attracts negative reactions from the technology press and market pundits, but is much loved by customers. Go figure, right?
It’s A Thing
Yesterday I wrote a lengthy diatribe against such negativity, though I called it insanity– Please Stop The iPhone X Insanity. Knocking Apple and the latest iPhones seems to be a time honored profession and every year it’s the same damned thing. What happened before and after iPhone X was introduced?
Critics screeched and cried, nattering nabobs of negativism nattered, market analysts and pundits went all anal all over the interwebs, and that produced a mess of opinions, perspectives, negativity, and hostility that makes the alt-right look like Nelson Rockefeller.
What do members of the technorati elite politburo do such things? Part of it is the natural human tendency to be negative, and part of it is the need to differentiate one opinion from another. Websites provide less news and analysis than they do perspective and opinion. The former takes effort and time, the latter can be cranked out in minutes.
The negativity bias, also known as the negativity effect, refers to the notion that, even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature (e.g. unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or social interactions; harmful/traumatic events) have a greater effect on one’s psychological state and processes than do neutral or positive things. In other words, something very positive will generally have less of an impact on a person’s behavior and cognition than something equally emotional but negative. The negativity bias has been investigated within many different domains, including the formation of impressions and general evaluations; attention, learning, and memory; and decision-making and risk considerations.
In other words, negativity makes the nattering nabob seem as if they are providing critical analysis, even when what they say is full of man made manure. Cable TV and Kellyanne Conway, I’m looking at you. But I could be looking at Nick Mokey, too.
When you read articles which lambast Apple and criticize iPhone X or anything else Apple makes, consider the source. It’s likely the writer has a history of negativity in every article published. That negativity makes the writer seem as if he or she is providing critical commentary and analysis. They are not. In fact, most of them write such negativism because, 1) it’s what they are and how they were taught, 2) negativism with a cute slant is less expensive to produce than actual analysis, 3) bad news sells newspapers.
Negativity bias. It’s a thing. You see it every day. What you won’t see in most of it is insightful analysis. Look for that instead. You know, actual hands-on use of a new iPhone vs. those who read the bullet points quickly so they can form a critical perspective. That may look like something insightful, but I prefer those with hands on experience and actual analysis.
Oh, by the way, that’s what Apple’s customers do. They want a positive experience and Apple usually delivers that better than other technology gadget makers. Thumbs up, folks.