Kunashni Parikh

Clinical and Sport Psychologist


Are you falling for Negative Bias?

Negative memory bias

Negative Bias and What It Does to Performance

Sometimes despite all the great achievements we make, we only remember the failures.

Sometimes despite the best compliments given to us, we only remember the criticism.

Sometimes despite all wins we’ve had we only remember the losses. Why?

Constantly having a memory bias for remebering negative events and forgetting positive ones is called as negative bias.

Negative memory bias

What does this do to an athlete?

Research shows that when we pay more attention to negative outcomes and forget all the positive outcomes, we may feel fixated on the failures, have low self-esteem, make ill-informed decisions, and may not be motivated to work on ourselves. Negative bias also impacts our communication and relationship with others.

Athletes have many competitive events where wins and losses are both common. Practicing negative bias by focusing on only the losses leads to lower levels of confidence, mood, and motivation.

How to get rid of negative bias?

  • Make a list of all the good things you appreciate about yourself. 
  • Write down a paragraph about all your winning moments! It doesn’t have to be first place at a tournament. It could just be perfecting your aim, scoring three baskets in a row, or beating your own record of the number of crunches or pushups you have done.
  • Think about all the good things people have said about you and write down all the compliments you have received!
  • Stare at this list for 5 minutes. And let the facts flow through you.

Beware of tipping onto a Positive Bias!

If you start floating too much in all your positive memories and achievments you might become complacent, careless, demotivated, and might forget to work on your areas of improvement. Don’t be blind to your faults, at the same time appreciate your strengths. A mentally strong athlete knows his or her weakness but does not let it affect their mind. 

Keep your awareness balanced on both positive and negative events to avoid this cognitive bias!

To Learn More about the Negativity Bias watch the video below!


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