Anyone who is serious about message development has to factor in the negative bias of the human mind, as I  wrote this week in a blog post for The Washington Business Journal:

Have you ever wondered why no one seems to hear the positive messages about your company or cause? It may have something to do with the basic wiring of the human mind.

It makes sense that we would be biased toward the negative. Negativity is good for survival. As Florida State University Roy Baumeister points out in an the Review of General Psychology, “It’s evolutionarily adaptive for bad to be stronger than good.”

As cave men and women, we had to pay attention to what threatens us or face the likelihood that we would perish. And we still operate that way. We remember an insult more than the kind word. We remember the pain of losing a job more than the thrill of getting one. Failure, not success, is often the better teacher.

So don’t fear the negative. Read this post to figure out how to use it to your advantage.