ORIENTATION TO THE NEGATIVE AND THE POSITIVE: A SPECIFIC CASE OF ASYMMETRY IN HUMAN BEHAVIOR

Examples of asymmetry abound in Psychology and human behavior. The orientation to the negative at the cost of the positive is one of them, and it pervades experimental results, and also Psychology's conceptions, methods, themes, and clinical and educational strategies. In this paper, I illustrate such a propensity to the negative by summarizing the results of three lines of my own empirical research: deserving of obtaining (of one's goods) and dependency responsibility in children's and adolescents' prosocial reasoning; morality of duty and morality of aspiration in children's moral reasoning; and positive and negative conceptions of peace in Portuguese children. By so doing, I intend (a) to show how the propensity to the negative pervades many aspects of human behavior; (b) to allow further exploration of the lines of research I summarized, and (c) to argue that it makes good sense for several reasons to call for a closer attention to the positive aspects of human behavior

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