SocialPsy The positivity effect refers to the tendency for people to attribute the positive behavior of other people whom they like to their disposition, while attributing negative behavior to their situation. It is thus an attributional bias.
The opposite effect is called the negativity effect in which the opposite bias in attribution is found when subjects rate others whom they specifically dislike.
The term positivity effect has also been used to describe the finding that, 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.
- Taylor, S. E. & Koivumaki, J. H. (1976). The perception of self and others: Acquantanceship, 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.
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