Positivity Effect


parental hindsight by lisa maltby

In psychology and cognitive science, the positivity effect is the tendency to make situational attributions about negative behaviors and dispositional attributions about positive behaviors for individuals one prefers.The term 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. 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.

Gender roles effect the behavior of the individual as well, and how they perceive others. Males tend to take more dominant roles, whereas females tend to be more nurturing and caregiving. Person-perception studies state that the characteristics of the perceiver are as important as the characteristics of the one being perceived. Since females are deemed to be the more nurturing and selfless by nature, they perceive others more favorably than men do. This is known as the ‘Female Positivity Effect.’ For example, women are more likely to be social and agreeable in a group task situation whereas the males are going to be mainly focused on the task at hand.

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