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In psychology and cognitive science, the positivity effect is the ability to constructively analyze a situation where the desired results are not achieved; but still obtain positive feedback that assists our future progression. When considering people we like (including ourselves), we tend to make situational attributions about their negative behaviors and dispositional attributions about their positive behaviors. The reverse may be true for people we do not like.[tone] This may well be because of the dissonance between liking a person and seeing them behave negatively. Example: If a friend hits someone, one would tell them the other guy deserved it or that he had to defend himself.
The positivity effect pertains to the tendency of people, when evaluating the causes of the behaviors of a person they like or prefer, to attribute the person's inherent disposition as the cause of their positive behaviors and the situations surrounding them as the cause of their negative behaviors. The positivity effect is the inverse of the negativity effect, which is found when people evaluate the causes of the behaviors of a person they dislike. Both effects are attributional biases.