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Negative is true here and now, but not so much there and then: On the impact of psychological distance on the negativity bias

Jaffé, Mariela Elena and Greifeneder, Rainer. (2020) Negative is true here and now, but not so much there and then: On the impact of psychological distance on the negativity bias. Experimental Psychology, 67 (5). pp. 314-326.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/79135/

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Abstract

How do people judge the veracity of a message? The negativity bias in judgments of truth describes the phenomenon that the same message is more likely judged as true when framed negatively compared to positively. This manuscript investigates the negativity bias in conditions of psychological proximity and the possibility that the bias decreases when distance increases. This notion is informed by construal level theory, which holds that negative information is more salient and weighed more strongly in conditions of psychological proximity compared to distance. Against this background, we hypothesize that a negativity bias likely occurs in conditions of proximity. With increasing psychological distance, however, positively compared to negatively framed information is more likely to be judged true, therefore attenuating or even reversing the bias. Two studies provide preliminary yet weak support for this hypothesis. A final registered study put the preliminary conclusions to a critical test and yielded consistent results: We find a significant interaction between frame and distance, indicating a descriptive trend for a negativity bias in conditions of proximity, yet a positivity bias in conditions of distance. This interaction illustrates that psychological distance may impact the negativity bias in truth judgments.
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Forschungsbereich Sozial-, Wirtschafts- und Entscheidungspsychologie > Sozialpsychologie (Greifeneder)
UniBasel Contributors:Jaffé, Mariela Elena E. and Greifeneder, Rainer
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Hogrefe
ISSN:1618-3169
e-ISSN:2190-5142
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
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Last Modified:09 Jul 2021 09:54
Deposited On:09 Jul 2021 09:54

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