Influence people

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Blame Darwin

Are you troubled by the fact that negative impresssions are more powerful than positive ones?

You can blame it on Darwin.

According to neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, evolution has hard-wired our brains to "default" to a state of constant vigilance.  

Without knowing it, we're always scanning the environment for threats.

In the Jurassic Period, our mammalian ancestors did this consciously.

One hundred and fifty millon years later, we're doing it (albeit unconsciously).

Science describes this vigilance as the brain's built-in "negativity bias."

The brain's negativity bias is bad news for marketers.

Social scientists and neuroscientists studying the phenomenon have demonstrated that:

  • People will do more to avoid loss than acquire gain;
  • Negative information about someone carries more weight than positive;
  • It takes five positive interactions to overcome the effect of one negative interaction; and
  • Even after a negative interaction is unlearned, it leaves an indelible trace in the brain that's easy to reactivate.
What does the science suggest? 

Your marketing has to work doubly hard to counteract evolution's subtle effect on customers' neurophysiology.

As if you didn't have enough to do.

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