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Sad, thus true : Negativity bias in judgments of truth

[journal article]

Hilbig, Benjamin E.

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Abstract An effect observable across many different domains is that negative instances tend to be more influential than comparably positive ones. This phenomenon has been termed the negativity bias. In the current work, it was investigated whether this effect pertains to judgments of truth. That is, it was hypothesized that information valence and perceived validity should be associated such that more negative information is deemed more true. This claim was derived from the findings that negative instances tend to demand more attentional resources and that more elaborate processing can render messages more persuasive. In three experiments manipulating information valence through framing– and assessing judgments of truth – the hypothesized negativity bias was corroborated. Theoretical explanations and implications for further research are discussed.
Keywords persuasion
Classification Social Psychology
Free Keywords negativity bias; positive-negative asymmetry; truth judgment; validity; elaboration; framing
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages p. 983-986
Journal Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45 (2009) 4
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)