When you have a Bad Day on Set – Negativity Bias


Reading time: 1 min

Negative feelings, events, things impact us more than positive ones. Psychologists figured this out. So in a stressful environment like a film set, we can feel down more easily than we actually should do.

This effect is called the negativity-bias. Psychologists found that for the human perception, 1 negative thing weights as much as 3 positive ones of the same level.

Which means that on set, you can nail a complicated shot, get praise from the producers, or have your favorite meal for lunch, but still have a “bad” or “neutral” day for that one argument with your colleague in the morning.

If we are not aware of this, we can completely ruin our own mood on an otherwise great day. Which is really demoralizing on the long run.

And if you go home in this state of mind, it can easily get even worse. Because in the case of close relationships, this ratio is even worse. 1 bad thing from a close friend or spouse, will overwrite 5 good experiences from that same person.

If you feel like you had a bad day, and your first words at home are from the “leave me alone” category, you can be trying for hours then to make up for that one thing.

Or if you want to be nice, but the other party does something that feels off for you, you might not notice the 5 other things they did just for your happiness.

So it’s dangerous. And especially in our high-pressure on-set environment.
But if you know about this default state of our perception, you can avoid running into these mistakes.

Cover photo by Caleb Minear on Unsplash

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Peter Varnai
By Peter Varnai

Peter Varnai

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Heey, I'm Peter. Father of 2, filmmaker, solopreneur, and a helper of other solopreneurs and self-employed people. :) Feel free to reach out to me and let's have a virtual coffee. or Sign up for the newletter.