The characters themselves are always swaying in the sunny side of life. It is enough to have a look at the lucky and beautiful rich people on Instagram to get this funnel. People who have been accidentally kissed in the same poses stand in front of the same status symbols, display the same smile and look confusingly similar to each other.
Where the bright light of happiness falls, there are few shadows and hardly any contrasts. The Russian writer Leo Tolstoy provided the literary quote for this feature with the opening sentence of Anna Karenina: “All happy families are alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” he wrote there. And he seems to have hit the nail on the head: since then, psychologists have dealt with the question inherent in this statement and have repeatedly come to the conclusion that the bad has more sides than the good.
Rumen Iliev of the Toyota Research Institute in Los Altos, USA and Will Benes of the Prague University of Economics and Business have published a study that adds another chapter to the research literature on the phenomenon. Happy, healthy, and wealthy people are more similar in many ways—such as character and values—than people who are less corrupt in life. Researchers reported this in Published work on the PsyArXiv prepress serverwhich has not been reviewed by other scholars.
Iliev and Bennis evaluated several large data sets for their work. These include the Australian Hilda Study, in which more than 17,000 participants were surveyed regularly between 2001 and 2016. For the data set, people’s Big Five personality traits were also questioned, perhaps the most popular measure of personality. In addition, the validity and satisfaction of study participants were determined. In addition, Iliev and Bennis analyzed part of the World Values Survey, in which more than 89,000 participants from 60 countries provided information on similar standards over several years. In both data sets, the results in the Big Five personality analyzes were more similar the more similar the subjects were to the sunny side of life. In both studies, these people also scored on cognitive tests that were more similar than those of people who had a more difficult time in life.
In recent decades, psychologists have found numerous evidence of greater diversity and a stronger negative impact. For example, people remember bad events better. They recognize words with evil meanings faster, and there are more of them in most languages: the semantic space occupied by the bad expands more than what the good claims. For example, describing negative emotions relies on a larger vocabulary than that of happy states. The bad news gets more attention anyway. Finally, hateful acts awaken a stronger need to name the cause and the culprit—which quickly leads to the illusion of causation.
Apparently, then, Iliev and Bennis concluded that Leo Tolstoy spoke the truth in his first great movement “Anna Karenina”. The question remains why the bad more diverse? One can only speculate about that. Presumably, such a negative thought and events create more pressure to understand and analyze – so that you can avoid them in the future.
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